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Your Dental Office News, June 19, 2022: National Smile Month, Alzheimer’s Awareness, Father’s Day, Juneteenth

School’s out, let the summer vacations begin! We could all use some time to relax and unwind, but before you head off on that long awaited trip – don’t forget to make sure everything is good with your dental health! 

June is National Smile Month, which is recognized to increase the public’s knowledge and consciousness of the long-term health benefits related to taking care of your teeth, mouth, and gums. It is also Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month, which provides us the opportunity to hold a conversation about the brain, and share the fact that Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias are a major public health issue. In particular, several recent studies have been correlating gum disease and mouth infections with Alzheimer’s.

Finally, we commemorate the emancipation of African-American slaves on June 19th, which is commonly refered to as Juneteenth. And let’s not forget about our Dads and father figures who have picked us up when we’ve fallen and helped to build that Ikea shelf!

We hope you can take some time for yourself and enjoy the month of June!

In This Issue:

  • National Smile Month
  • Give the Gift of a Healthy Mouth
  • Happy Father’s Day
  • I have Alzheimer’s. Don’t feel sorry for me
  • Out-of-Network Dental Insurance
  • Honoring Our Team Members
  • Recipe of the Month (from Samantha, Assistant Practice Manager): Summer Salad
  • Please Leave us a Review!

National Smile Month

Source: https://www.dentalhealth.org/healthysmile

A healthy mouth can be a great asset. 

Our teeth have such an important role to play in our lives. They help us chew and digest food, they help us to talk and speak clearly and they also give our face its shape. A smile also has other day-to-day benefits. It can give us greater confidence, as well as influence our social lives, careers and relationships. Because of this, it only makes sense to give our oral health the best care possible. National Smile Month is our chance to take a look at our oral health, learn more about why a healthy smile is so important and share tips on how to improve and maintain it.

Good oral health can have so many wonderful life-changing benefits. A healthy smile can truly transform our visual appearance, the positivity of our mind-set, as well as improving the health of not only our mouth but our body too. But what exactly are the health benefits of having good oral health?

Keeping our teeth for life

By brushing our teeth twice daily, maintaining a low-in-sugar diet and regular visits to our dental professional, we can help reduce the risk of such diseases like dental decay and gum disease – both of which can result in tooth loss. Research has found that the number of teeth we have is strongly linked to how long we will live. Those with 20 teeth or more at the age of 70 had a considerably higher chance of living longer than those with less than 20 teeth. Tooth loss through dental decay and gum disease are almost entirely preventable and there’s no reason why, with a good daily oral health routine, we cannot keep our teeth for life.

Reducing the risk of disease

When we have gum disease, the bacteria from our mouth can get into the bloodstream. It then produces a protein which causes the blood to thicken. This means that clots are more likely to form, and the heart is not getting the nutrients and oxygen it needs, resulting in increased risk of a heart attack. Similarly, gum disease can also cause inflammation of the blood vessels, blocking the blood supply to the brain, leading to a potential stroke. New research has also shown that we are more likely to develop diabetes if we have gum disease.

Reducing the risk of cancer and dementia

By keeping our teeth and gums healthy we are more likely to reduce our risk of certain cancers, particularly in women, as well as some forms of dementia. New research, which examined data from 65,000 post-menopausal women between the ages of 54 and 86, found those with a history of gum disease were 14% more likely to develop cancer. Of these, one in three developed breast cancer while there was also a highly-increased risk of lung cancer, oesophageal, gallbladder and skin cancers. Those who have healthy gums are also 70 percent less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than those who have suffered from gum disease over a long period of time.

Having a healthy baby

Pregnant women with healthy gums may be around three times less likely to have a baby that is premature, reducing the risk of having a low birth weight. Research says there is a one-in-four chance that a pregnant woman with gum disease could give birth before 35 weeks. This is because gum disease raises the levels of the chemicals that bring on labor.

Maintaining our appearance

Keeping our teeth clean and healthy can help us steer clear of bad breath (halitosis). Bad breath is very common and is often caused by a buildup of plaque and is a symptom of gum disease and tooth decay, as well as being embarrassing and undesirable. Another very common condition that can affect our appearance is tooth staining. Tooth staining is natural and comes with the ‘wear and tear’ usually associated with smoking, or drinking lots of tea, coffee or red wine. Stained teeth are not usually harmful and tend to have little impact on the health of our teeth. Although having stained teeth can make us feel a little self-conscious.  In most cases we should be able to prevent surface staining with regular cleaning, while more stubborn stains may need to be tackled by a dental professional.

Give the Gift of a Healthy Mouth

We’re grateful to you for trusting us to take care of your oral and overall health. If you ever wished you could recommend us to a family member, friend or neighbor who doesn’t have dental insurance, we’d like to give you a bit of encouragement.

Because dental care can be expensive, a few years ago we created our in-house Dental Health Club (DHC), which offers significant savings for treatment in our office. The DHC was so well received that a couple of years ago we expanded it to include a Periodontal Plan, in addition to the Adult and Children’s Plans we offer.

Details about our Dental Health Club plans will follow in the article below.  As a thank you for helping to spread the word about our Dental Health Club, for every new patient you refer, who signs up for one of our in-house plans, we will credit $35 to your account. We will also credit them $25 toward the DHC rate for their first year. 

The determination of which Plan an adult should sign up for is based on scheduling a New Patient appointment with us, where our doctors will conduct a thorough evaluation. The cost of the cleaning that follows that evaluation is covered by the “2 preventive cleanings and periodontal disease evaluation” included in the adult plans. Please note that we’re currently scheduling appointments into the end of August. So, please encourage those you refer to us to make an appointment soon, and to mention this promotion and your name when they make their appointment.

Promotion ends October 1, 2022. New Patient appointments and subsequent membership in the DHC must be paid in full by October 1, 2022 to qualify.

Happy Father’s Day

What is a Dad?

A dad is someone who wants to catch you before you fall,

but instead picks you up, brushes you off, and lets you try again. 

A dad is someone who wants to keep you from making mistakes, but instead lets you find your own way even though his heart breaks in silence when you get hurt. 

A dad is someone who holds you when you cry, scolds you when you break the rules, shines with pride when you succeed, and has faith in you even when you fail. 

Rodney, Dr. Levy, Dr. Patel and Brandon (left to right in the photo) are four dads in our practice. We honor them in this newsletter, as well as all the grandads, stepdads, foster dads, uncles, and all others who play that role in a child’s life.

I have Alzheimer’s. Don’t feel sorry for me

Sharron Hobbs

Submitted by Sharron Hobbs to the Panama City News Herald. Sharron Hobbs is a retired program manager from the Florida Department of Health, and avid gardener, and Alzheimer’s advocate. Source: https://www.newsherald.com/story/opinion/2022/06/05/have-alzheimers-dont-feel-sorry-me-guestview/9906517002/

A few weeks ago, I was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. For many, that diagnosis might come with a lot of questions and uncertainty, but for me, I knew exactly what it meant. 

I was the main caregiver for my mother, who had the disease, until I held her hand for her last breath. I was with her day in, day out, as she slowly lost her memories and her grip on reality loosened. But inside, she was still my mother. She still retained all the qualities that made her who she was. 

As I start this journey with Alzheimer’s, I am asking only for my friends and family to remember that I am still Sharron Hobbs. Yes, some days I will have a different reality than yours. It might mean the sky is purple or there are children running around that only I can see. But I deserve to be treated as a person, one who loves to garden and enjoy the little things in life. One who has worries and fears and hopes, just like each of you. 

When someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or other dementia, people sometimes struggle with what to say or do. It can be uncomfortable. Sometimes it’s easier to just not say or do anything, to not engage. But that just leads to loneliness and isolation, which is not good for anyone. It’s so important to push through the discomfort and talk to the person, to me, as an individual. Don’t baby them or talk to the person next to them, as if they aren’t there.

Right now, I might seem like there’s nothing wrong with me, but that doesn’t mean I can keep up with conversations like I used to. I need time to process and respond. That doesn’t mean I don’t have the disease or it’s getting better. It means I’m in the early stages. Don’t debate my diagnosis or expect me to engage like I always have in the past.

I don’t want people to feel sorry for me. I don’t feel sorry for myself, so why should you? But I will say that there are things you can do to ensure I have dignity in my life, that I am treated like Sharron Hobbs, the gardener, the wife, mother, daughter and friend. And that starts with one phrase someone shared with me when I was caring for my mother. If it isn’t detrimental to life or health, it just doesn’t matter. 

It doesn’t matter that I think the sky is purple. It doesn’t matter that I need to go to my childhood home. When my mother was living, we would drive her around the block so she felt like she was going home. We made PB&J sandwiches for the children she could see but we couldn’t. It’s not about being right. It’s about respecting their reality, which is very, very real to them. For me, life got easier when I accepted that. And for anyone reading this who has a loved one with the disease, it will for you too. 

When things get tough, please keep trying. Keep reaching out and keep showing up. Even when I don’t know my husband and the people I love, I will know that a stranger was nice to me. I will appreciate the nice man bringing me chocolate. Yes, you might have to speak slowly and have patience, but you can treat me with dignity and I will recognize it. 

Caregivers deserve the world. Support them, ask how they’re doing. Show grace and kindness. As a former caregiver, it is a job that has no breaks, but we keep going because we must. One day my husband will become my caregiver and I hope he receives the love and support all caregivers deserve. 

Lastly, it’s also important to learn the facts about this disease. With June being Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month, it’s the perfect time. Know the signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Seek out resources that will help you be a better caregiver, friend, family or co-worker to someone like me. There are more than 580,000 Floridians living with Alzheimer’s and that number is expected to jump 24% by 2025. So odds are, you already know someone with the disease or will in your lifetime. There are so many ways for you to get involved and make these changes. I have volunteered with the Alzheimer’s Association Central and North Florida Chapter for many years. I walk every year in Walk to End Alzheimer’s Emerald Coast and attend local programs to learn more about being a caregiver and, now, living with the disease. I encourage you to do the same. You can call their 24/7 Helpline 800-272-3900 or go to their website at alz.org/CNFL. 

If there’s one thing I can leave you with it’s this, I am and will always be Sharron Hobbs. Who I am will always be there, one way or another.

Out-of-Network Dental Insurance

Everyday, we get tons of phone calls asking the same thing, “Are you in-network with my insurance”? We answer the same way every time: “We are not in-network, but you can use your insurance here if you have out-of-network benefits.” This frequently catches people off guard because they don’t actually know what a PPO plan is, or how dental insurance works. 

Most people assume that “out-of-network” equals zero insurance coverage, but that’s not true! Even if we’re out of network with your PPO dental insurance, they WILL cover your dental visit with us – depending on your plan and provider, sometimes even as much as 100%. (This is not applicable to HMOs or DMOs.)

What is a PPO plan?

A PPO dental insurance plan is short for Preferred Provider Organizations. The name is misleading because a PPO plan is the kind of plan that accepts both “preferred providers” (aka in-network offices) and non-preferred providers (aka out-of-network offices). If you have a PPO plan (which many people do), your insurance will most likely cover at least a portion of your treatment in our office, even if we’re not in their network.

Will I have to file my own insurance?

We’ll file the insurance claim on your behalf! We know how to get your claim submitted efficiently and correctly. We’ll review your insurance coverage, explain your benefits and, after your appointment, we’ll file a claim for you, whether you’re in- or out-of-network.

Why does my insurance say I should see an in-network dentist?

Your insurance company might tell you that the best dentists in your area are in-network providers but, in truth, they want you to see an in-network dentist because it’s cheaper for them.

Don’t let your insurance dictate your dental health. You have the choice to see a dentist that you know and trust. We’ll help you make the most of your plan regardless of whether or not you’re in- or out-of-network. 

Honoring Our Team Members

To learn more about our team members, visit Our Team page on our website.

MVP – Front Desk

Every month we recognize a team member who has gone above and beyond for our patients or other team members. 

In May, we recognized our amazing front desk team. The front desk manages to multitask effortlessly and always with a smile. They handle an immense amount of and a variety of requests, needs, complaints, concerns via phone and in person. They are always willing to help and have great communication, organization and excellent clerical work. Our front desk team works really hard and we couldn’t do what we do without them!

Service Recognition: Deborah

We are proud of our outstanding team of professionals, many of whom have been with Dr. Harvey Levy & Associates for many years. In May, we celebrated Deborah, our Human Resources Coach, who has been with our practice for 35 years! While she has stepped away from her duties as practice manager to enjoy more time with her grandchildren in a semi-retirement, we are delighted that she still makes herself available to provide her knowledge and coaching to our management team. 

Summer Salad With Corn, Strawberries & Avocado

If summer had a flavor, it would taste like this! This salad is loaded with fresh, seasonal fruits and veggies. It’s super refreshing and perfect for your next summer BBQ or picnic. 

https://www.walderwellness.com/tastes-like-summer-salad-with-fresh-local-ingredients/

Notes

Quick, easy, healthy, gluten-free, vegetarian

prep time: 5 MINUTES

cook time: 10 MINUTES

refrigerate/chill: 30 MINUTES

total time: 45 MINUTES 

servings: 4 PEOPLE

Ingredients

  • 1 ear of corn, husks removed
  • 1 long English cucumber, chopped
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes (vine-ripened if possible!)
  • 1/2 an avocado, cubed
  • 2 cups fresh strawberries, quartered
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta
  • 1/2 a lemon, juice only
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Salt + pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. To steam the corn, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, you can either add the ear of corn straight into the water or place it in a steamer basket. Cover with a lid and let steam for 5 minutes.
  2. While the corn steams, chop up all other ingredients! This includes the strawberries, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and avocado. Crumble the feta, chop the fresh basil, and set aside.
  3. Once the corn is done, remove from water and allow to cool for a few minutes (until it’s comfortable to touch). Using a large knife, place the corn upright and slice the kernels off into a bowl.
  4. In a large salad bowl, add the kernels of corn, sliced strawberries, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and avocado chunks. Sprinkle with crumbled feta, chopped basil, olive oil, freshly-squeezed lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Toss everything to combine.
  5. You can enjoy this salad immediately, or place it in the fridge for 30 mins to allow it to cool!
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