From Tooth Decay to Tooth Loss

    September is almost finished! Which means fall is right around the corner. It’s National Gum Care Month, and it’s a great time to brush up on routines that can keep our mouths clean and healthy. A simple action, like brushing teeth, is very beneficial to our oral health and overall wellness. Skipping out on a good oral hygiene routine can cause a lot of problems down the line. Especially choosing not to go to the dentist for checkups. That always leaves us with unnoticed problems until it’s too late. Maintaining healthy teeth and gums is a lifelong commitment that everyone should be able to do. For us to take care of our mouths and gums, first, we must go over what could happen if we don’t have the proper oral care.

    According to the National Institute of Health, our mouths can carry up to 700 strains of bacteria. So, what happens when bacteria are left to linger inside our mouths? Well, it happily feeds on the sugar from the food and drinks that we consume throughout the daily. Bacteria also likes to break down tooth enamel, which in turn, making the enamel weaker and leading to tooth decay. Tooth decay and cavities are some of the most common health problems, but this can also lead to gum disease as well. 

    Our gums are not supposed to bleed when we brush or floss our teeth. If that does happen, you may have gum disease. Gum disease is an inflammation of the gums that when left untreated can deteriorate the jawbone supporting our teeth. Gum disease starts because of the bacteria that form and stays on teeth. If the bacteria are not removed daily with brushing and flossing, the plaque builds up and the bacteria starts infecting the gums and teeth. Left untreated, teeth will eventually start to fall out or will require professional extraction. There are three stages of gum disease: gingivitis, periodontitis, and advanced periodontitis.  

  • Gingivitis: This is the earliest stage of gum disease. If plaque builds up at the gum line, it will cause inflammation and the gums can become swollen and red. If the plaque is not removed, it can irritate the gum tissue that is around our teeth, which causes gingivitis. At this early stage of gum disease, you might notice bleeding gums after brushing or while flossing. If caught early enough, this stage of gum disease can be cured with your dentist.
  • Periodontitis: This is the second stage of gum disease. At this stage, the tissue and the bone that holds our teeth in place are damaged. When bacteria stay on teeth long enough, plaque builds up, which then turns into tartar, and tartar is a lot harder to clean off of our teeth. At this stage of gum disease, if it is not treated, periodontitis heavily recedes the gums and tooth loss is imminent.
  • Advanced Periodontitis: This is the final and severest stage of gum disease. At this point, the tissue and the bone that hold our teeth in place are well deteriorated. The gum tissue has pulled away from teeth, which then creates pockets for even more bacteria to build up and cause further damage and infections. When this happens, it’s very easy for teeth to become dislodged and fall out.

How to Stop Gum Disease

Now, the best way to stop gum disease is to prevent it from starting. Brushing and flossing twice per day and using fluoride toothpaste are the best we can do at home to keep gum disease from developing. However, if symptoms of gum disease are already present, visiting a dentist or a periodontist, a dentist that specializes in gum disease, is the best option for getting back on a healthy track. When you come in for a perio appointment, the first step is a consultation exam to develop the best treatment options to fit your needs. This may include non-surgical and/or surgical methods.

  • Nonsurgical Treatments: Some nonsurgical treatments can help the early stages of gum disease. Deep cleaning, where scaling and root planning are used to remove plaque and tartar from below the gum line.
  • Surgical Treatments: Some of the surgical treatments that periodontists can perform to help with gum disease include bone grafting, flap surgery, and tissue regeneration.

So far, we’ve talked about oral care and what could happen if we don’t take the time to properly care of our teeth. As adults we know this, but what about kids and teens? It’s important for them to know what they can do to take care of their teeth and gums. While conversations with your children and their health will vary by age, here are the best examples of what to share and demonstrate with them at home:

  • Brush their teeth twice a day
  • Floss daily
  • See the dentist at least twice a year
  • Eat healthy meals
  • Be mindful with sugary drinks and snacks

It has been said before that the mouth is the gateway to our overall health, so we should try to protect it as much as possible. Practicing good dental health doesn’t start at the dentist’s office, it starts with us. Us taking care of our teeth at home is where the real magic happens. Maintaining a consistent oral hygiene routine is a lifelong commitment that we can all commit to… and it’s always OK to re-commit as well! 

Happy National Gum Care Month

Smith Valley Smiles

2311 Highway 208
Smith, NV 89430
Phone: 775-465-2388

Do Toothpicks Really Belong In Your Mouth?

We use toothpicks in our daily lives, and they are useful for a lot of things. The toothpick’s job is to take food particles out from teeth and sometimes, it’s a substitute for actual floss. People also tend to grab them for other things as well. For example, they are great for craft-related projects, and we can say firsthand, those things are NOT sturdy. They can get lost very quickly and tend to break easily. Especially when we use them for the fine point tip, those are the first to go. Now, can you imagine the tip breaking in your mouth or getting lodged in your gums?! Trust us! It’s a very uncomfortable experience.

If a piece of the toothpick breaks off, try and get another set of eyes to help you find it, because those pieces can be very hard to dislodge. Those broken pieces can quickly cause inflammation and will cause damage the longer they are left inside. Remember — if you are unable to remove the broken piece(s), contact us. We’re here to help… judgement free!

Toothpicks can also cause infections in the mouth. If there’s a time where we just happen to jab our gums or even accidentally poke an area of our mouth and it bleeds, that’s a problem. Leaving an open wound untreated is leaving the mouth susceptible to infection and bacteria. Bacteria can be from outside elements or even from the toothpick itself.

Did you know that toothpicks can cause havoc on your existing dental work? They are capable of damaging veneers, Invisalign buttons, bonding, and even upending fillings. If we are rough or use toothpicks often, all of this is bound to happen and is, to simply put it, just not worth saving those few minutes vs flossing and brushing instead.

The moral of the story!

Toothpicks, even given their name, should not be the go-to for teeth. Toothpicks are useful for dislodging food particles from between our teeth, and while they do come in handy, they are not designed for cleaning teeth especially along the gum lines.

Here are some alternatives to using toothpicks:

  • Floss: Dental floss is the best for cleaning between the teeth. It should be used gently and should never be forced. Floss is also great to use under dental work and along our gum lines.
  • Flossers with a handle. These are handy for traveling. Do use caution as many have a tempting toothpicker at the other end!
  • Waterpik: A waterpik is a device that aims a small stream of pulsating water at teeth. Like floss, they help remove food particles from teeth. They’re also great at helping to reduce bleeding and gum disease. Anyone who wishes to get their mouths cleaner will enjoy adding the waterpik to their daily oral health routine.

Any of these options are miles above using a toothpick! Avoid infections, damage, and unnecessary dental visits. Keep the toothpicks for crafts, cleaning out crevices’ and unclogging tiny holes only.

Smith Valley Smiles

2311 Highway 208
Smith, NV 89430
Phone: 775-465-2388

Warning Signs & Symptoms of Heat-Related Illnesses

August is here! This means it’s time for the kids to prepare to go back to school and it is also the last call for any summer vacations! This summer has been one for the books with record-breaking heat temperatures. Whenever this season comes back around, we all must make sure that we stay safe because extreme heat can cause an array of health problems. Let’s dive into the possibilities that could happen if we are not careful with the warm weather we’re having.

  • Heat exhaustion: Heat exhaustion happens when your body starts to overheat and can’t cool itself down. Heat exhaustion is more common than we think. It can be more common during any physical activity, like exercise. During physical activity, our bodies start to lose fluids when we sweat and if we don’t replace those fluids, dehydration could happen. Some examples of heat exhaustion symptoms are dizziness, fever, excessive sweating, and fatigue. 
  • Heatstroke: Heatstroke is a condition that is caused by the body overheating, kind of like heat exhaustion. Long exposure to the sun can cause a heat stroke, and it can also be life-threatening if a person stays outside for too long. Usually, we can cool ourselves down by sweating, but in extreme heat, our cooling systems could fail, and heat will start to build up. Some examples of heatstroke symptoms are headaches, dizziness, disorientation, and even seizures. 
  • Dehydration: Dehydration happens when we lose more fluids than what we take in. If our bodies don’t have enough water or any other fluids, it can stop functioning. When a person becomes sick with a fever, starts to vomit, or has diarrhea, that could cause dehydration. It can also occur if the person has been outside in the sun and they’re not drinking enough water. Everyone is different and everyone may experience symptoms differently. Some symptoms of dehydration might include fatigue, light-headedness, dizziness, and confusion. 

While we are looking out for ourselves this summer with the heat, we also must look out for our pets too! Pets can experience heat stroke just like we can. Pets can usually cool themselves off by panting, but they only have a few sweat glands and can’t cool themselves off by sweating like we do, so they can overheat more easily. Heatstroke can also be very common for pets if they’re left outside during hot days, but other factors can cause pets to have heatstroke as well. Some of the factors include high humidity, no access to water, and if pets are stuck in a house or car with no ventilation or air conditioning. 

Since we’ve talked about the dangers of extreme heat and how the consequences of that can affect us in different ways, now let’s talk about how we can avoid dehydration and any other heat-related illnesses. It’s very simple really. 

  • Drinking water: The best way to avoid dehydration and other heat-related illnesses is to drink plenty of fluids. Drinking enough water every day is very important for our health. Our bodies are made up of 60% water and making sure to stay hydrated is very beneficial. When we’re out in the hot sun or exercising, it is very important to drink enough water to keep up with what our bodies are getting rid of. Water helps our bodies keep a normal temperature, lubricates our joints, and gets rid of wastes through urination, bowel movements, and sweating. 

Sometimes we find ourselves forgetting to drink enough water throughout the day. Here are some tips so we can remember to drink enough:

  • Always carry a water bottle with us and remember to refill it periodically.
  • Start choosing water instead of sugary drinks, especially when we’re eating meals.
  • Add some flavor to our water. We can add a wedge of lemon or limes to our water to help improve the taste and it can help us drink more water than we usually do.

Believe it or not, drinking water is good for our teeth as well, especially if it’s with fluoride! Drinking water with fluoride is one of the easiest ways to prevent cavities. Here are some other ways that drinking water is beneficial to our teeth: 

  • It keeps our mouths clean: When we’re eating meals, it is very easy for us to want to pick up a soda to wash down whatever we were eating, but that can also leave unwanted sugar in our teeth. The bacteria in our mouths would love to eat the sugar and produce acid that can break down our enamel. Water washes away any left-over food in our mouths, which means the bacteria can’t find any sugar to break down. Drinking water throughout the day can keep our mouths cavity-free, and always brushing our teeth two times a day. 
  • It fights dry mouth: Our mouths are filled with saliva. Saliva is our mouth’s defense against tooth decay. It washes away leftover food just like water and it keeps our teeth strong by washing them with calcium, fluoride, and phosphate. 

Who knew that drinking water can be very beneficial to our health and even help save our teeth in the process? This summer has been a hot one and it’ll keep getting hotter. While we are all outside in the sun having the most fun as we can, it is very important to drink enough water as we can throughout the day. Have fun and stay safe out there! 

Smith Valley Smiles

2311 Highway 208
Smith, NV 89430
Phone: 775-465-2388

5 American Presidents… and Their Teeth

As we all start making plans for Independence Day this weekend, we thought it would be fun to share some interesting tidbits regarding past Presidents and their dental “adventures” shall we call them. Without further ado, and in the order of their leadership:

  • George Washington. April 1789 – March 1797
    Failing teeth were a chronic issue his entire adult life, and at his Presidential inauguration in 1789, he had only one functional tooth remaining. Contrary to the myth, his false teeth were NOT made from wood. However, numerous full and partial dentures were constructed from materials like human teeth, and probably cow and horse teeth, ivory (possibly elephant). The metal fasteners holding them all together were crafted from lead-tin alloy, copper alloy (possibly brass), and silver alloy.

  • Grover Cleveland. March 1885 – March 1889 and March 1893 – March 1897
    Shortly into his second term, President Cleveland was diagnosed with a quarter-sized oral legion. Given the Great Depression was in its early days, the President felt it was best to have surgery in secret so his health wouldn’t cause political concern. Having had the surgery in summer 1893, it took about an hour and a half and left him with a 2.5 inch hole in his palate. A prosthodontist later fitted him with a vulcanized rubber prosthesis allowing him to speak normally again.   

  • Herbert Hoover. March 1929 – March 1933
    President Hoover was the very first President to set up a dental office that was located inside the white house! Having your own dental office in your own home is very convenient. As when he required care, he simply sauntered down to the basement where it was located.

  • John F. Kennedy. January 1961 – November 1963 
    During his first WWII mission, President Kennedy’s teeth saved one of his fellow soldiers from drowning! After their patrol torpedo boat (PT) was directly rammed by a Japanese destroyer, JFK towed a shipmate to safety by holding a strap from the life jacket with his teeth. For roughly four or five hours he swam breaststroke until reaching Plum Pudding island.

  • Lyndon B. Johnson. November 1963 – January 1969
    President Johnson is a man after our own heart! He used to gift electronic toothbrushes to friends and family complete with the Presidential Seal and all! His reason behind this as he states, “I want people to think of me right away when they wake up and right before they go to bed.”

We hope you enjoyed this walk down memory lane with us. It’s easy to take our teeth for granted until we feel pain or sensitivity. So, with that we leave you with a gentle reminder to floss the corn out of your teeth and brush before bed this weekend.

Happy 245th Birthday America!

Smith Valley Smiles

2311 Highway 208
Smith, NV 89430
Phone: 775-465-2388

Top 9 Health Risks Men Face

June is here, the first month of summer! We have Men’s Health Awareness Week coming up this month so let’s talk about it. Men’s Health Week was created in 1994 by congress to help raise awareness of preventable health problems, as well as early detection and treatment of diseases commonly found among men and boys. This event is about celebrating men and encouraging them to care for their bodies and become aware of preventable diseases. The week occurs this year from June 14th through the 20th, which also happens to fall on Father’s Day. This week is used to raise awareness, spread education, and create knowledge on how to improve the state of men’s health. People acknowledge this event by using a blue ribbon as its’ symbol.

Yes, EVERYONE needs to pay special care and attention to our health. However, sometimes there is a stigma that men are not likely to face certain diseases or illnesses simply due to the fact they are male. For Men’s Health Awareness Week, here are the top 9 health risks for men according to Healthline:

  1. Heart Health: Gum disease (periodontitis) is often linked with an increased chance of developing heart disease. Also, poor dental hygiene runs a higher bacterial infection risk in the bloodstream affecting heart valves. [Salinas, DDS. November 2020, Mayo Clinic]
  2. Respiratory Disease: Like how gum disease affects the heart, bacteria and germs from poor dental hygiene can also get inhaled into the lungs. This can exacerbate existing medical conditions and lead to other lung problems [American Thoracic Society].
  3. Alcohol and/or Substance Abuse. Different alcohols and drugs adversely affect the body differently, here are the highlights [Oral Health Foundation]:

Wine, Beer, Ciders – these tend to be highly acidic drinks that can lead to erosion of tooth enamel. The first sign of this tends to be tooth sensitivity or pain.

Hard Liquor (Spirits) – the high alcohol content leads to dry mouth. This can cause dehydration and excessive plaque buildup.

Mixers and Alcohol Pops – these tend to be loaded with sugar. We all know that can be a tasty way to welcome tooth decay!

Drugs – many cause sugar cravings. Sugar mixes with the saliva and bacteria in our mouth to create plaque. Plaque left sitting on our teeth for a long time can then dissolve the enamel leading to cavities.

Heroin and Meth – these cause dry mouth by reducing saliva flow. Chronic dry mouth can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.

Cocaine and Ecstasy – the jaw-clenching these drugs cause often leads to headaches, jaw pain, and cracked teeth.

  1. Depression: Depression is a mental health disorder that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think, and how you act. Did you know canker sores can be triggered by stress and dietary deficiencies? When depression and anxiety strike, it’s easy to forget to brush our teeth regularly and eat frequent healthy meals.
  2. Unintentional Injuries/Accidents
  3. Liver Disease: Any condition that damages the liver and prevents it from functioning well. Common risk factors of liver disease include heavy alcohol use, obesity, type 2 diabetes, sharing needles, exposure to other people’s bodily fluids, and family history of the disease. [Mayo Clinic]
  4. Diabetes: Diabetes is a condition in which the body does not process food for use as energy. It is a disease in which your blood glucose or blood sugar levels are too high. Did you know that diabetic patients with gum disease have an easier time controlling their blood sugar levels? [Mouth Healthy ADA]
  1. Influenza and Pneumonia: This is lung inflammation caused by a bacterial infection, which fills the air sacs in the lungs with puss and may become solid over time. Those bacteria could very well come from poor dental hygiene.
  2. Skin Cancer: Skin cancer is the abnormal growth of skin cells. It develops in areas that are mostly exposed to the sun. It’s summer, but everyone can benefit from wearing sunscreen 365 days a year!

Did you notice much of the list is preventable? A healthy body and a healthy mind work in conjunction with one another. You’re worth the effort it takes to create new, healthy habits to live a long life. Today is the perfect time to start!

Smith Valley Smiles

2311 Highway 208
Smith, NV 89430
Phone: 775-465-2388

Five Gift Ideas To Celebrate Mom This Year

We really cannot give Moms enough credit, gratitude, and thanks for all they do and all they continue to guide us in. After the whirlwind that was 2020, the world is slowly, slowly, starting to open back up. Personally, this Mother’s Day should be one to remember. During the past year, things have been scary and full of uncertainty. Not only have parents had to juggle home, work, and everything else that they do on any typical day, throw in a Pandemic and things became overwhelming for most.

Since we can go out to places a little bit more (comfort level taken into account), Moms should be CELEBRATED more than ever this year. Here’s 5 last-minute ideas to help you plan a special day for those fabulous ladies in your life:

  1. Pack a picnic basket and include a deck of cards or board game. Enjoy a break outdoors at a park, in the backyard, or on the living room floor. Alternatively, take her out for breakfast, lunch, or dinner at her favorite local spot. Remember to spring for her favorite dessert!
  2. Select a nice bottle of antioxidant-rich red wine. Pro Tip: avoid red wine teeth stains by brushing before popping the cork AND eat cheese. Aged gouda or cheddar are safe choices for most reds.
  3. Pick up her most favorite bouquet of flowers. Is she not into flowers? A special plant for her garden or a small succulent (read: very low maintenance) are also perfect.
  4. Find that perfect card that expresses exactly what your Mother means to you OR make your own! Kids of all ages are never too old to make a homemade card for their mom.
  5. Create a personalized gift basket just for her! Candles, candy, pajamas, sandals, frame with a picture of you two, portable water flosser, dvd, even gift cards. The beautiful thing about gift baskets, is you get to choose the perfect items that remind you of her. Themed or random, she’ll appreciate that each item was thoughtfully selected by you.

Let us know how it goes, and of course, Happy Mother’s Day to all the Moms out there (and the dads doing double duty). You are doing GREAT!

Smith Valley Smiles

2311 Highway 208
Smith, NV 89430
Phone: 775-465-2388

EGG-STRA Special Easter Ideas for 2021

If you’re celebrating this year with a traditional Easter or still hunkering down with a virtual celebration, we have some egg-citing ideas to brighten your weekend!

Healthy Easter Basket Ideas & Gifts

5 Clever Gift Ideas for Easter:

  1. Electric Toothbrush. From superheroes and princesses to tech-savvy Bluetooth compatible, electric toothbrushes are great for kids and adults of all ages! PRO TIP: electric toothbrushes, when compared to ordinary manual toothbrushes, decrease more plaque.
  2. Floss or Flossers. Not all dental floss is created equal! There’s unwaxed floss to fit between teeth that are very close together. Waxed floss is the standard and least likely to break. Dental tape is broad and flat, yet also comes in waxed and unwaxed options. This is the perfect option for those with more space between teeth. Can’t get your family to floss? Gift them a water flosser and stay out of the splash zone!
  3. Lip Balm. From kid friendly fruity flavors to bacon balm and all-natural beeswax, be sure to surprise your bunnies with an option that moisturizes and includes SPF.
  4. Dental Hygiene Survival Kit a.k.a Travel Kit. These are easy to find at Walmart, Target, and discount stores. They’re also fun to make and personalize! Be sure to include a small toothbrush that has a cover over the bristles, toothpaste with fluoride, floss or flossers, dental wax if they have braces, and pop them into a little, fun travel case.
  5. Water Bottle. The more personalized to what they’re into, the more they’ll love to hydrate! Not sure what they’ll like? A solid color with secure top is always a safe bet. Then boost the fun with permanent markers or stickers so they can decorate to their heart’s content.

Fun Easter Crafts & Games

Classic Easter Egg Hunt:
If everyone is safe and able, create the most epic egg hunt ever! From real confetti eggs to the plastic ones, fill them with candies, small toys, and surprise money.

Virtual Egg Hunting:
How does this work?? So glad you asked! It’s on Zoom or FaceTime or Google Duo, whichever you friends and family like best. Each family hides the same number of eggs in a room. If the kids are smaller, this is a fun I-Spy game. You’ll want to keep the eggs semi-hidden yet easily spotted from where your camera will be set up. For older kids and adults, you can step up the camouflage game and hide them completely. Be sure to make clues. To keep the game fun (and fair if necessary): set a timer for everyone to have equal time. The family that finds the most eggs wins. Victory dances and showcasing each egg found Vanna White style is highly encouraged!

Scavenger Hunt:
If you feel like going a little above your average egg hunt, take it to the next level with a scavenger hunt! Create clues and a map that lead to the prizes (or eggs) throughout your home and/or backyard. Here’s a few ideas for all ages: decorate an egg, peep like a chick, smell a flower, find a plastic egg. From clue cards to do-it lists, scavenger hunts are a great way to get everyone involved.

Egg Decorating Contest:
This is a great option for Zoom as well! Everyone sets up their egg decorating stations and camera. Then you can all chat and visit with one another while decorating fancy Easter eggs. At the end, everyone can vote on their favorites.

Easy Easter Food

Deviled Eggs:
Classic! Use your favorite deviled egg recipe. Make them fancy by using a fun cake piping tip to pipe the egg mixture into the sliced egg whites and top with a paprika sprinkle for a pop of color! If you are feeling ambitious, transform them into little chicks using small pieces of black olive for eyes and carrot shavings as a beak.

Cherry Coke Ham:
Sure to be an instant favorite! Before putting your ham into the oven, pour cherry coke over the ham and rub it with brown sugar. Repeat this process 2 more times while the ham cooks. Depending on how large your ham is, it usually times out to be repeated every 45 minutes to an hour. Pro Tip: leftovers are amazing with yellow mustard on Hawaiian rolls… DELICIOUS!

Twinkie Mobiles:
Take a Twinkie. Laying the Twinkie flat side down, carve out some of the filling from the middle. This will serve as the “car”. Next, take a bunny Peep, trim a little from the bottom, and stick the bunny into the area carved out of the Twinkie. The Peep is your “driver”. Use mini cream filled cookies (like mini-Oreos), twist off the cookie part, stick one side of the cookie to the Twinkie (using frosting) to create the “wheels” of the car. Finally, use a pretzels (chocolate covered are also wonderful) and place this in front of the Peep for the “steering wheel”!

Robbins Egg Rice Krispies Baskets:
Whip up a batch of home-made Rice Krispies treats. While they are still warm, mold them into cupcake trays so that they resemble bird nests. Let them cool completely. Put down a little layer of the edible Easter grass (or make your own using coconut flakes mixed with a little green food coloring). Fill with your favorite egg-shaped candies, such as the colorful malted Robbins eggs, or pastel multi-colored mini-M&Ms.

Chocolate Covered Strawberries:
Put an Easter spin on chocolate covered strawberries. Use white chocolate and add some orange food coloring so that the dipped strawberry now looks like a carrot!

Hope you decide to try out some of these “EGG-STRA” special ideas for a “HOPIN” good time!  Whatever you decide to do this year, have fun, be safe, get creative, share your pics with us, and Happy Easter!

Smith Valley Smiles

2311 Highway 208
Smith, NV 89430
Phone: 775-465-2388

The Truth About Bad Posture and Tooth Fractures

It’s officially March 2021, and one of the lesser-known impacts brought on by the pandemic is the rise of tooth fractures. Our dental practice would normally see a small number of fractures from ice chewing or biting into a rogue popcorn kernel; however, that is no longer the case. As more people than ever before working from their sofas and hastily thrown together home offices, ergonomics has gone out the window. A large part of ergonomics in the workplace revolves around posture, which plays heavily into stress induced tooth fractures and other jaw-related issues such as TMJ.

While broken bones can heal, it is important to note that a tooth fracture never will. The cure, rather treatment, will depend on the severity of the crack and location. This is why an early diagnosis can be essential to saving your tooth. Treatment can be as simple as a crown or require a root canal if the fracture is below the gum line. As with all dental issues, avoiding treatment as things progressively worsen and can lead to tooth loss.

Now, let us revisit posture. The average person tends to not consider their posture and how it deeply affects their bodies and overall long-term health. Having poor posture places stress on your muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Practicing good posture is one of the simplest and easiest ways to keep the spine healthy and improve blood flow. Most people sit slumped, curve their spine, lean forward on the edge of their seat, or sit leaning more to the left or right. All these positions can affect our spine, neck, nerves, and shoulder muscles which can all translate into possible TMJ problems!

Ever wonder the kind of effect stress can have on the body and everyday life? It is another factor that negatively impacts our bodies. Chronic stress is also linked to the six leading causes of death (heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver, and suicide). Of course, stress is probably on the top of everyone’s lists, along with poor sleeping habits. These two things combined, cause us to clench our jaw and grind our teeth at night while sleeping. Clenching and grinding of the teeth and jaws contribute greatly to tooth fractures, chipped teeth, and wearing down the surfaces of your teeth (short teeth). All of which is an obvious reason to schedule a dental visit.

It is important to be mindful of these things, at least as much as we can. Let us all try to make sure that we check-in with ourselves by asking daily:

  • How have I been feeling?
  • Am I anxious about anything particular?
  • What am I stressing about?
  • Have I been sleeping well?

The first step is at least being aware. If we can catch ourselves when we are stressing, we can prevent those long-term issues that creep up on us down the road. For example, sometimes we notice our fists are clenched. Maybe not because we are angry, but because that is where our stress accumulates. Our stress can also accumulate while we are sleeping. You see, stress comes out in different ways and often unconsciously. After thinking about all these factors, realization hits and we start thinking about all the things that we can do to improve ourselves and our health. We do find ourselves in a constant state of stress, even if nothing major is going on, there is constantly something on our mind. Our health is finite and requires regular attention and maintenance. Be mindful of what your body is saying to you and take action.

Taking action is as easy as catching ourselves slumped in front of our computers rather than sitting upright with our feet on the floor. There are loads of options on Amazon designed to help reinforce healthy posture. For your workspace, be sure your computer monitors are at eye level, and your keyboard and mouse accessible while your arms are at a 90-degree angle. This should allow your elbows and forearms to rest on the arms of your chair.

Try and get relaxed before going to bed. Stop thinking about work. Stop thinking about what we did and did not get accomplished. Try taking a bath or hot shower. Unwind. Drink some chamomile tea. Anything to put you in a calm state-of-mind before dozing off. And, if you have trouble falling asleep, focus on clearing your mind and concentrate on breathing deeply.

If you are a teeth grinder or a jaw clencher, ask us about a mouthguard or sleep options to help prevent grinding and ease those achy jaws from clenching.

We know this will not solve a pandemic, but it will help to avoid a nasty dental visit, TMJ problems, or having to repair fractured or chipped teeth!

Smith Valley Smiles

2311 Highway 208
Smith, NV 89430
Phone: 775-465-2388

2021: Reinventing Valentine’s Day!

February, a month full of new possibilities! There are so many things to celebrate this month. The most notable, of course, is Valentine’s Day! Yes, Valentine’s Day, a day dedicated to celebrating love, happiness, and appreciation. With COVID restrictions, this year will be a little bit different, and can be just as memorable as those past. Since we all should be staying at home as much as we can, here are some simple ideas to make this Valentine’s Day your best one yet!

Celebrate with Your Sweetie
Are you and your Valentine stuck in a basic day-to-day routine? Here’s 3 sweet and simple ideas for a fabulous date night:

  1. Pretend it’s your first date, and kick things off with one of you ringing the door bell! Take a long drive and enjoy a picnic at a pretty park. If the weather isn’t nice enough to sit outside, keep things toasty in the car. Pro Tip: pack a warm drink like tea, cocoa or coffee in a large thermos to share.
  2. Dinner for two! Order in from your favorite local restaurant or create an easy gourmet meal together at home. This can be as expensive or budget friendly as you like. Keep it cheap and spice things up with aromatic herb combos like garlic and rosemary or thyme, cloves and orange peel. Pro Tip: splurge on dessert.
  3. Game night! From board games to a simple deck of cards, the options are endless. Need something a bit more exciting? Play video games together. Pro Tip: winner gets to control the TV, and the loser makes dessert.

Valentine’s Day Ideas for Kids
Tired of virtual learning and being locked up for almost a year? Time to shake things up with these 4 family friendly activities:

  1. Themed Meals! Quick and easy breakfast: heart shaped pancakes OR keep it simple and let the kiddos doodle with their own icing pen. Lovely Lunch: grilled cheese with tomato soup OR finger sandwiches and strawberries. Simple Supper: pizza. Order in, make your own personal pies, or just bake some pizza rolls. Decadent Desserts: build your own cookie or ice cream bar. Pro Tip: even the littlest of hands want to help. Get the kids involved in making and cleaning up!
  2. Get Crafty! If glue sticks, glitter, and foam cutouts are too ambitious, keep it simple with crayons and colored pencils to make Valentine Cards for each other and neighbors.
  3. Share the love! Gather everyone together and sit comfortably. Have everyone take a turn saying what they love and appreciate about each person there. Pro Tip: this is fun to do during meals, and a great way to encourage family conversations.
  4. Relax! Have a family movie night. Vote on Valentine-themed movies like Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown, Beauty and the Beast, or The Princess Bride.

Celebrate with your pets
Show your fur babies some EXTRA love this V-Day. Take that extra long walk, buy that special treat they looove but can’t have often. Give them a bath, brush them out, and spring for a new toy.

Celebrating solo – NO PROBLEM!
Valentine’s day is about YOU! And, the perfect time to indulge and pamper yourself. There’s a quick list to jump start your Me-Day:

  • Foot massage bubble bath soaker.
  • Face mask — from charcoal based and firming to plumping and brightening, you have options!
  • Watch your favorite movie (or binge your favorite show). Whether it makes you laugh, cry, or everything in between, enjoy!
  • Splurge for dinner! What don’t you get to eat often? What’s that restaurant you’ve been meaning to try? If you’re ordering in or making a three course gourmet French meal, enjoy the experience and top it off with a fancy drink like champagne OR a cherry in your sparkling water.

However, you celebrate Valentine’s Day this year, relax, enjoy, and make it special because you really can!

Smith Valley Smiles

2311 Highway 208
Smith, NV 89430
Phone: 775-465-2388

New Beginnings

Happy New Year everyone! We FINALLY made it out of 2020 and coming into 2021 full steam ahead!

Now, we all realize that just because we are starting a fresh new year, doesn’t mean all the COVID craziness will magically disappear (we all wish, right?). However, this is the perfect time to reminisce and start the new year off in a positive and optimistic direction.

As 2021 begins, we all feel like at least a bit compelled to start making changes in our lives. Whether it’s starting new things, letting go of old habits, or setting new goals to achieve. A new year feels like someone hit a reset button and we can all restart. So, take some time to reflect on all joy and struggle you experienced in 2020, and think about what you’ll do differently over the next few months ahead. Even with the uncertainty, we will all continue to do our part by limiting our bubble interactions, BUT that doesn’t mean we can’t achieve great things this year. If you’re still playing with the idea of creating new habits or (gasp!) even calling them resolutions, here are four simple ideas to commit to.

  • Drink more water. Try starting off small. Drink 2 cups of water every morning. Maybe even replace one of your many cups of coffee for water. If drinking water is just too bland, try add ins like fresh lemons, fruit, or cucumber or Propel flavored electrolyte water packets.

  • Cooking. Since it looks like we’re still staying indoors for who knows how long, try out a new weekly recipe. Pinterest offers a smorgasbord of inspiration for every picky eater imaginable!
  • Hobbies. Finding a new hobby can be greatly beneficial for your mental wellbeing. Hobbies give you something to look forward to. Find something that sounds fun and give it a go, because doing new things solo or with your immediate people is always an adventure!

  • Exercise. Exercising or any physical activity improves your muscle strength and works to create long-term health benefits. Exercise is good for your health, body, and mood so try out new exercises or activities to get you in a good mindset for 2021! YouTube offers a plethora of workouts for anything that takes your fancy, AND don’t undercut yourself! Even a daily stroll to the mailbox or around the block counts.

Now, resolutions tend to be easier said than done. So, start by simply trying out something new. Set small milestones, and once you have that habit built up, set a bigger one to accomplish something challenging. Now is the time, after everything we’ve been through this past year, GO FOR IT! Happy New Year! Let us know how you’re doing. Take 2021 by the reins, you’re a boss!

Smith Valley Smiles

2311 Highway 208
Smith, NV 89430
Phone: 775-465-2388