As a prosthodontist and cosmetic dentist in NYC, I am well aware of the stress people are under in day-to-day life. I know that this stress can have an effect on health, even on New Yorker’s dental health. That is why I am bringing this to your attention, as it can actually save your teeth, New Yorkers!
If you count your blessings, you’re much less likely to be counting sheep at night! Sleeping more soundly is but one of the many benefits that researchers have found among people who maintain an attitude of gratitude in their lives. According to Melinda Beck in The Wall Street Journal (November 23, 2010), grateful people are happier, healthier and more successful than moodier people.
Says Beck: “Adults who frequently feel grateful have more energy, more optimism, more social connections, and more happiness than those who do not, according to studies conducted over the past decade. They’re also less likely to be depressed, envious, greedy or alcoholics. They earn more money, sleep more soundly, exercise more regularly, and have greater resistance to viral infections.”
The benefits of being grateful accrue to children and adolescents as well as adults. Research shows that kids who feel and act grateful “tend to be less materialistic, get better grades, set higher goals, complain of fewer headaches and stomach aches, and feel more satisfied with their friends, families and schools than those who don’t.”
“A lot of these findings are things we learned in kindergarten or our grandmothers told us, but we now have scientific evidence to prove them,” says Jeffrey J. Froh, an assistant professor of psychology at Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY, who has conducted much of the research with children.
The research is part of the “positive psychology” movement, which focuses on developing strengths rather than alleviating disorders. Cultivating gratitude is also a form of cognitive-behavioral therapy, which holds that changing peoples’ thought patterns can dramatically affect their moods.
In a survey of 1,035 high school students, Dr. Froh and his colleagues found that “the most grateful had more friends and higher GPAs, while the most materialistic had lower grades, higher levels of envy, and less satisfaction with life.”
Another study showed that counting blessings can actually make people feel better. It was conducted by Dr. Robert Emmons, professor of psychology at the University of California-Davis and a pioneer in gratitude research, and by Dr. Michael McCullough, a psychologist at the University of Miami. Study participants who listed blessings each week had fewer health complaints, exercised more regularly, and felt better about their lives than other participants.
The big question is whether people can learn to be grateful. “Experts believe that about 50% of such temperament is genetic, but the rest comes from experience, so there’s ample opportunity for change,” says Beck. Both children and adults can choose how they feel and how they experience the world. “Look for things to be grateful for, and you’ll start seeing them everywhere.”
One simple way to cultivate gratitude, notes Beck, is to literally count your blessings by keeping a journal and regularly recording what you’re grateful for that day. Another is to adopt a more upbeat mind-set – like sharing what you’re grateful for with friends instead of bonding over gripes and annoyances. Still another is to “fill your head with positive thoughts, express thanks and encouragement aloud, and look for something to be grateful for, not criticize, in those around you, especially loved ones.” Even small increases in positive emotions can make life more satisfying.
As a dentist in Manhattan, I know that less stress means less teeth grinding and less teeth grinding means less dental problems. So relax — and count your blessings
If you’re over 40 years old, the likelihood is you’ll eventually require a dental crown. What you need to know is that all crowns are not created equal.
People need crowns for a number of reasons. Often, however, they learn about crowns when they’re in the dentist’s chair and are not in the best position to start thinking about options.
Crowns can protect a weak tooth from breaking; they can be used to restore an already broken or worn tooth; they can cover and support a tooth with a large filling; or they can cover misshapen or severely discolored teeth. Different materials for crowns may be used for different purposes.
Are you satisfied with the dental treatment you’re receiving?
Many people are more diligent in selecting the hairstylist who takes care of their hair than the dentist who takes care of their mouth. But with increasing attention being paid to selecting quality health care professionals, objective criteria are emerging to help patients make informed choices in the dental as well as the medical professionals they select.
If you are among the many current job-seekers over 40 years old, you are probably especially sensitive to your need to take new initiatives to put your best foot forward, on paper and in person. A good resume may get you in the door, but your appearance and your presentation skills will make the difference whether you stay inside.
If you or someone you know is pregnant or undergoing fertility treatments here’s some valuable advice you may want to pass along: Don’t neglect your dental health. Recent research has found that maintaining oral hygiene can prevent many problems not only with a mother’s health, but also with a baby’s birth, including low birthweight and even pre-term delivery.
Usually we call your attention to articles about oral health but, with the recent article from The New York Times, we´re starting to send news of interest about general health and well-being. Most of our patient letters still will pertain to dental matters, though some will be broader in scope.
The headline of a New York Times article, Big Benefits Are Seen From Eating Less Salt sums up the latest news nicely: Researchers calculate that if adults reduced their daily salt intake by three grams, or half a teaspoon, there would be significant decreases in heart disease, stroke, heart attacks and, ultimately, death. Excessive salt intake can lead to high blood pressure, and high blood pressure, in turn, can lead to heart attacks and strokes.
According to the researchers, whose study was first reported in The New England Journal of Medicine, a half-teaspoon less of salt per day would cut new cases of coronary heart disease by 60,000 to 120,000 annually, stroke by 32,000 to 66,000, and myocardial infarction by 54,000 to 99,000 — and reduce the number of deaths by 44,000 to 92,000. Everyone would benefit from less salt, the Times notes, but people at higher risk for heart problems — blacks, people with hypertension, and people over age 65 — would benefit the most.
An added benefit, as reported elsewhere, is that the half-teaspoon-a-day reduction in salt would save the U.S. up to $24 billion a year in health care costs.
Since we´re as concerned about your overall health as your oral health, we urge you to consider selecting lower-sodium brands when food shopping, cutting back gradually on your daily use of salt, and not salting restaurant or prepared meals without tasting them first.
Are you guilty of bruxing? Sounds pretty harsh, doesn’t it – but, in fact, “bruxing” is just another way of saying “grinding your teeth.”
As reported by Michael Winerip the New York Times, dentists throughout the country are seeing a significant increase in grinding, especially among middle-aged men. Typically, dentists treat more women than men for grinding, but now men are fast catching up.
What’s taking its toll on these men, according to sources cited in the article, is the stress of the recession and its accompanying problems. Owners of companies, for example, have had to deal with shrinking business, significant layoffs, and reduction in income – Stress with a capital S.
Most people aren’t aware that they’re grinding their teeth. It’s an unconscious behavior that often takes place during sleep. They become aware of the problem only when they notice worn-down, chipped or broken teeth. Other symptoms include headaches first thing in the morning, biting your tongue, painful mouth and not sleeping well.
“The pressure people put on themselves even while asleep is painful,” the article notes. “Normal chewing places 68 pounds of pressure per square inch on the back teeth; intentionally clenching your teeth places 150 pounds of pressure; grinding unconsciously at night places 900 pounds of pressure.” That’s more pressure on your teeth in one night than in an entire month of normal wear.
If you suspect that you’re grinding your teeth, dentists can help you take remedial action by making a customized night guard to wear during sleep. Other corrective work may be recommended. Speak with your dentist and take the “grind” out of your life!
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