Interesting Articles and References

Here are some websites with great information about oral care. Be sure to call us with any questions you have and we’ll be happy to schedule an appointment to discuss them with you.

The American Dental Association’s MouthHealthy site gives you great tips on all things dental.

The Oral Health Foundation’s Dental Health site offers additional useful information.

Be sure to take a look at the Oral Cancer Foundation’s site to become aware of risk factors and signs of oral cancer. If you find any of these, call us immediately to schedule an appointment for further evaluation. Every moment counts!

Locked Down and Gloved Up!
     Under cover of early morning darkness today, masked and gloved, I sneaked into Von’s Market, accepting a freshly sanitized shopping cart from a worker at the door. As I passed the colorful Easter candy display, I felt a sharp pain, like a kick, grip my stomach as tears sprang to my eyes. No Easter gathering this year. I pushed the cart forward and worked to shed the jab of the emotional toll this lockdown is having on us.

The day before, on the walking trail with my dogs, a man approached from about thirty feet away, and seeing me, lifted a mask to his face. I quickly veered out into the empty street. He lowered his mask and gave me a brief wave from a great distance.
     Something like four billion of us on the planet are under mandatory lockdown. In the 200,000 years of anatomically modern humans, there has never been such an isolation occurrence. Firstly, across human history the populations have been much smaller, and certainly no opportunity for mass communication. You and I, right now, are living history.
     We Baby Boomers grew up learning about the agonies of the Great Depression, hoping no such thing would befall us. The recent strong economy and low unemployment rates have lulled us into a sense of safety and comfort. That view has suddenly been shattered.

     Ken and I have been deeply respectful of the CDC guidelines.Staying in, spraying down grocery bags, sanitizing the groceries, and leaving packages on the porch for several days. Our schedules are pretty open. For the most part we are doing okay. Across our long marriage my chief complaint has been that I wished my husband were home more. Well he’s home now and I have plenty of time with him. Guess what? I like it! The other day, when I returned from a walk, he was so proud because he had been sewing!! (I know, Ken sewing is pretty wild!). He proceeded to demonstrate his creation. Using a clean white dusting cloth and a paper coffee filter, he had manufactured a serviceable mask. He was so proud!

Ken Proudly Displays His Homemade Mask

Anyway, we’ve completed a few projects around the house, read some books, and of course done a lot of cooking, but what surprises me is how exhausting it is not doing that much. Do you, too, feel a strain of exhaustion?
     It occurs to me that many of us are in a type of grief mode. If it is not grief, certainly it is anxiety. The economists agree that we are headed for a deep recession. The financial unknown out there alone is plenty to scare us, and certainly the daily CORONA VIRUS DEATH REPORT is enough to do in the strongest of us.

Our losses are lurking under many different layers: not seeing our loved ones, having our freedom of movement curtailed, losing our daily schedule and its familiar comforts of coworkers, the mental challenges of work, and feeling the sting of missing our friends. Others of us are beginning to experience the agony of actually losing loved ones to this virus.

As a survivor of child abuse I have had a default “setting” for “hyper-vigilance.” What this means is that I am unconsciously preparing for the next assault. It’s possible that you also may be unconsciously gearing up for the next blow. This is a hard way for us to live. Our reaction to the world pandemic may be the only aspect over which we have some control. Perhaps this is a good time to work on training our brains. For me, I now recognize that I feel exhausted because my world has upended. Going forward I am going to respect that fact and give myself a break, maybe even a nap!

     So recognizing how stressed we actually feel is a good first step. Deciding to control it is another positive move. This is a good time to calm our minds through meditation, walking, yoga and relaxation techniques. Maybe we should limit the time we watch the news. Every time the economists discuss the next most dire prediction, I feel my anxiety climbing.
     I downloaded Zoom and am having “meetings” with my family. I am also getting better at remembering to use Facetime, and being grateful. Brain science has proven that when we live in gratitude our happiness levels elevate. In addition, when we help others, we tend toward feeling better. The local food banks desperately need our help, as do elders who need grocery deliveries. Our friends need phone calls and texts. My beautiful daughter-in-law texted me this sign: INTROVERTS PUT DOWN YOUR BOOK AND CALL YOUR EXTROVERT FRIENDS. THEY ARE NOT OKAY!! Yes, we can help our friends and neighbors. 

 Certainly there is no silver bullet that is going to rescue us anytime soon. The laboratories around the world are working as fast as they can on a vaccine. For now we are keeping our distance and wearing masks. It seems to me that it is our job to respect how truly stressful this is and give ourselves permission to understand that: this is a really big deal! In the meantime my family and friends continue to share outrageously hilarious videos and photos. I love the Chris Mann Youtube parody on the right margin. The other night my friend sent this question to me: DOES ANYONE KNOW IF WE CAN TAKE SHOWERS YET OR SHOULD WE JUST KEEP WASHING OUR HANDS?

     You are in my heart. I think we just need to hang in there. I’d love to hear how you are staying sane during an insane time in human history. My best, donna

Tips for Surviving the Holidays

from Dr. Donna Friess

While the malls shimmer with their glittering holiday cheer, it might be important to remember that for many the season can be loaded with emotional landmines. Even the most positive may succumb to feelings of anxiety or depression. The enormity of gifts to gather, a house to decorate, or the food to prepare could cause the most hearty to feel overwhelmed! Memories of past years, perhaps with one’s original family, or the loss of a loved one, could also trigger the grief response. The holidays truly can be a tough time, but there are positive ways to work through your feelings.
Start with a simple list
Anxiety can be controlled by making “to do” lists and scaling back. The lists get it out of our heads and the scaling back makes it easier. Simply admitting how you feel can be a relief.
Shed the should
Many of us tend to “should” on ourselves by demanding that we must do what we have always done to make the holidays “perfect” for our loved ones. Often they don’t even notice if a certain dish is homemade or store bought, or whether something is beautifully wrapped or is in a simple decorative bag! If you suffer the “Be Perfect” admonition why not dump it right now? We don’t need to be perfect! Consider this instead: where can you slim down the details in your life to make your experience less nerve-wracking? What can you change?


Staying positive and celebrating with gratitude

If you or your friend have recently lost a loved one, this first holiday season can be particularly difficult. Here are some survival ideas:

1. Be proactive. Plan some activity or ritual that will help you get through the day. Perhaps it is a trip, hosting a gathering, taking a walk in the afternoon, doing something to break up the traditions from the past.

2. Take time to think about your loved one and talk about him or her with a trusted confidant.

3. Create a new tradition. Perhaps there is a game to play, or an art project the family or friends could enjoy such as decorating cupcakes, stockings, creating a gingerbread house, or making ornaments.

4. When invited somewhere consider whether you want to go or are you going to be polite. Answer conditionally, “May I tentatively say yes, and if I feel up to it that day I will come?”

5. Let one trusted person know how you are really doing behind the social mask of cheerfulness.

6. Carry out one of the traditions or rituals of your loved one to honor him or her.

7. Most important of all, know that it is okay to cry.

8. Take good care of yourself by eating properly and sleeping properly and avoiding excessive use of alcohol.

9. Live in gratitude. The prescription for negative thinking is to be grateful for all your blessings.

10. Make a goals book and begin to look forward. What more do you want TO DO, TO HAVE AND TO BE in life?

Mark Twain said that “Courage is to face our fears and go forward”. You can do that even though the holidays may bring more than social gatherings and beautiful music!

–Used with permission.