Helping Your Grandchildren Learn About The Dentist

By: | Published: January 29, 2015

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Helping Your Grandchildren Learn About The Dentist

By David L. Steed

For many, the dentist can be a daunting experience. He is often thought of as the one who inflicts pain with rudimentary implements while getting paid handsomely to do it. While this isn’t true, anxiety about the dentist affects many of the patients we see every day, especially young children.

A Kid’s Place Dentistry tries to alleviate some of that fear with our child friendly services and doctors that care about patient comfort. Parents and grandparents can also help stem many of the fears that accompany a child’s first visit to the dentist. You are your grandchild’s greatest ally when it comes to learning about the world and using teaching materials like books, movies and games can help them see the dentist in a more positive light.

A great resource for kid friendly learning materials can be found on Pinterest.com. The Pinterest website operates like an online scrapbook where people can share creative projects and pin them to virtual pin boards. The Center of Dental Professionals page on Pinterest has many great ideas for learning about how to maintain a healthy mouth, including printable materials to share with your children.

One of our favorite project ideas from Pinterest is to take a large building block or styrofoam egg carton to use as teeth. By applying salt dough or clay between the grooves you can teach young children the importance of flossing with a string of yarn. This tactile project is fun and engaging for young minds that will remember how much fun they had when they go to their next dental appointment.

Take a children's building block and add a little dough to teach kids the importance of flossing.

Take a children’s building block and add a little dough to teach kids the importance of flossing.

Another strategy to prepare them for their first visit to the dentist is to read books or watch educational videos while answering any questions they might have. It is an excellent way to bond with your grandchild and gives them safe environment to learn about potentially frightening experiences. With websites like Youtube, Hulu and PBS, you can find educational programs about visiting dental offices and maintaining proper oral health for free. Many popular programs such as The Magic School Bus series and Sesame Street have episodes about the dentist that are great fun for kids.

For reading materials the website wegivebooks.org has some of the newest and most popular children’s titles for free. You can browse their collection of thousands of books and easily search by subject, genre, author or title. The non-profit organization has many fun books to read with your family including “A Trip to the Dentist,” by Penny Smith.

At a Kids Place Dentistry we try to make the experience at the dentist as fun of a learning experience as possible. We know that going to the dentist can be scary at times, but our team of dental professionals is invested in your children’s oral health. If you have any questions about children’s dentistry or where to find more great learning materials please visit our website dentalprosutah.com or contact our offices in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Come See Us At Winter Palooza!

By: | Published: January 15, 2015

Kids Place Winter Palooza

The Center of Dental Professionals and A Kids Place Dentistry are committed to being an integral part of our community. That is why this year we will be a part of Winter Palooza at the South Towne Expo Center in Sandy, Utah. This fun event is put on by the Utah Kids Club and we are happy to be a local sponsor.

The event will take place on January 24th from 10am to 8pm and only costs $7.00 per person in you purchase your tickets online. A Kids Place Dentistry will be there to help with one of the many Bounce Houses and have fun activities and prizes at our booth. The Winter Palooza has many other fun activities for families like face painting, animal shows, balloons, food and so much more! It is a great way to wear your kids out while creating lasting memories.

A Kids Place Dentistry will also be teaching kids the importance of a healthy mouth with fun activities encouraging children to brush their teeth and seeing their dentist twice a year. For more information about our offices or the Winter Palooza event please call (801) 747-8000 or visit our website, A Kids Place Dentistry.

We can’t wait and we look forward to seeing your smiling faces at Winter Palooza!

Proper Mouth Protection for Athletes

By: | Published: January 12, 2015

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Tonight is the arrival of the first ever College Football Playoff. The Heisman winner, Marcus Mariota and the Oregon Ducks will take on Urban Meyer and his Ohio State team. It will be an excellent match for the inaugural championship game.

While we hope that no players will be injured, it is important for athletes to take proper precautions to protect their bodies. This includes things like helmets, pads, braces and other appropriate attire for the grueling physical nature of sports like football. One thing that often gets overlooked by athletes is protection for their teeth. While a helmet can protect a football player’s mouth, it is important to remember when playing other contact sports like basketball and hockey to wear a properly fitted mouth guard. This can help prevent injuries such as chipped or broken teeth that may cost thousands of dollars to repair.

A simple mouth guard can be purchased for $5-$15 at a local sporting goods store and ready to use in just a couple of minutes. They can be a little awkward to use and make talking difficult, but will save time, money and pain. Your local dentist can recommend brands and sizes for your athletic needs. They can help instruct you on how to prepare a mouth guard before use and how to maintain it. They can save a smile and help you maintain a healthy mouth.

For More information about mouth guards and other ways to prevent oral health problems please visit The Center of Dental Professionals in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Make Flossing Fun!

By: | Published: December 18, 2014

Image Source: ABC and 123 Learning Cooperative

Image Source: ABC and 123 Learning Cooperative

Oral health is one of the most important things that we can teach our children and it can be so much fun! Young kids love to learn about everything that is going on around them.  Learning about their teeth with sensory activities can make future trips to the dentist more enjoyable for parents. Here is a fun project that you can do with your children to help them understand the importance of flossing.

Things you will need –

  • An egg carton or building block piece
  • A soft bristle hair brush
  • Yarn to act as dental floss
  • Play-doh or tissue paper

The first thing you will need a large building block piece or an egg carton to act as your teeth. Show your child how the teeth feel and compare them to the ones in their own mouth. You can then prepare the teeth for the experiment. Take your egg carton or building block and stuff bits of play-doh or tissue paper sporadically through the teeth. These act as bits of food that your child will need to try to remove by brushing the teeth with their pretend toothbrush (hairbrush) that you have given them to use.

After a couple minutes of brushing ask them if they were able to get all of the food out from between the teeth. Hopefully the answer is no so that you can teach them the importance of not only brushing their teeth but how flossing between teeth helps maintain a healthy smile. Give them the piece of yarn and show them how to make soft strokes between the pretend teeth. Carefully remove the bits of tissue paper or play-doh, being mindful to explain that the gums holding their teeth are delicate.

This is a fun and easy activity to do with your kids. For more information about your children’s dental health please visit A Kids Place Dentistry in Salt Lake City, Utah. You can make an appointment by clicking here or by calling our offices at 801-747-8000.

Go back to school with a healthy smile!

By: | Published: August 5, 2014

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Do you have shiny white teeth for the school year?

Whether you go to school or not, having healthy teeth is important. But for students both young and old, school is a very social place and having a nice smile can make a big difference in the confidence and ability to excel.

As the 2014 to 2015 school year kicks off, what better time is there to come in for a check-up and to make sure you won’t have any dental problems as you focus on learning. After all, it is much easier to schedule an appointment before your busy schedule starts, and there’s less of a chance that maintaining your oral health will fall between the cracks when the homework starts piling up.

So whether you are in 1st  grade, 12th grade, or college, call us and make an appointment today!

The Other Half of You – Why the Human Microbiome is so important to our health, and why it could be going extinct.

By: | Published: June 24, 2014

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Cooties, germs, bacteria, or whatever you call them have been public enemy number one for decades, maybe even centuries. Ever since we discovered the little one celled creatures and realized that they were the cause of some of our worst diseases, our species has been trying to eradicate them by any means necessary. That war still rages on in the form of antibiotics, hand sanitizer, vaccines, and an irrational fear of things we can’t even see, but automatically assume are there. In effect, this war has turned us all into relative germaphobes (compared to ages past when people were scarcely aware of them).

If science didn’t prove the existence of microorganisms, our behavior could very well be described as superstitious, especially considering the many rituals we engage in to protect ourselves. The ancient Greeks would touch the ground when they heard thunder to avoid getting struck by lightning, and we similarly use hand sanitizer or wash our hands on a regular basis to avoid illness. Yes, science proves that our modern rituals are effective, but most of us don’t really know that for ourselves any better than an ancient Greek person knew that his ritual kept the lightning away (his own experience would validate his belief, as getting hit by lightning is very unlikely). We are simply following the popular belief, as the Greeks did, whether we have done the science ourselves or not.

I bring all this up not to discourage the use of hand sanitizer, but to illustrate how we as humans will do almost anything to protect ourselves before we really know what is going on. If it were told by those in authority that touching the ground will prevent a lightning strike from hitting you, the most common Greek response was probably “Better safe than sorry,” right? The same thing goes for microorganisms and the many products we use to fight them, but there’s a catch. It turns out that microorganisms, specifically bacteria, are usually a good thing, and killing them is having a huge impact on our health. After all, they make up not just half, but 90% of all the cells in your body.

The human microbiome, or the ecosystem of bacteria that live on and inside the human body, is a vast, complex, and innumerable system of checks and balances. We could not live without this system, and each microbiome is uniquely adapted to the individual. In other words, the proportions of various bacteria living inside you, and even the bacteria themselves, are different than those living inside of any other human being. So if you killed all or some of the bacteria in your body, you could be causing the extinction of entire species of microorganisms.

According to Carl Zimmer of the New York Times, the good bacteria inside us “digest compounds in our food that would otherwise be indigestible… [and] help tutor the immune system, so that it attacks pathogens without overreacting and damaging the body itself. The microbiome can even fend off disease-causing bacteria.”

It is quickly becoming evident through modern science that the human microbiome plays a vital role in our overall health, especially our immune system, and many modern diseases can be linked to having an imbalanced microbiome. This is true from birth, and studies suggest that a lack of a healthy microbiome early in life may lead to autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes, as well as other problems like allergies and obesity. So why is the human microbiome off kilter?

One of mankind’s greatest achievements, if not the greatest, was the development of antibiotics. They have certainly saved the lives of millions of people, and I would never want anyone to get the wrong idea about them. Modern medicine, however, has slowly realized that what cured so many ancient illnesses might be causing new ones, and they have only scratched the surface in the emerging field of study concerning the human microbiota. Very little conclusive research has been conducted on the human microbiome and what effects antibiotics may be having on it, but what we do know is certainly enough to raise eyebrows.

Wide-spectrum antibiotics, previously considered better than narrow-spectrum varieties because they could target a greater variety of microbes, have unfortunately had collateral damage, killing the good along with the bad. Since we inherit much of our microbiome from our mothers, some theories suggest that we are losing key members of the microbiome with each generation that is born and continues to kill off their own microbiome with antibiotics and modern sanitation practices.

Furthermore, our continued effort to kill the bad bugs that live inside us has promoted the growth of the really bad ones, or the bugs that are resistant to antibiotics. New antibiotics are not being developed fast enough to counter these “superbugs,” but the question may be raised whether more antibiotics are the best solution, considering the unintended consequences of their use.

If this seems like a gloomy picture, there is hope. As we learn more about the human microbiome, we can develop better treatments to keep it healthy. Such treatments already exist to cure problems in the intestine, and they involve repopulating the intestinal track with the right balance of bacteria that will make a person healthy. Similar procedures are done for cancer patients, whose microbiomes can be decimated by radiation or chemotherapy, in which case samples of their microbiota are preserved and reintroduced after their treatments. As we discover more problems related to imbalances in the human microbiome, we will inevitably discover the solutions to fix those imbalances. The challenge is finding those solutions before too much of the microbiome has gone extinct.

Preserving the microbiome, like any endangered species, is a time sensitive matter. You can’t bring back what’s already gone, so identifying and characterizing as much of the microbiota before they die off is imperative. That’s what the government funded Human Microbiome Project is aiming to do, but the task is monumental, considering the vast spectrum of microbes that live inside us.

What can everyday citizens like us do to help? That’s a tough question, and it’s a narrow line to walk when you’re trying to find the balance between protecting yourself and preserving your microbiome. In situations where the danger is acute, such as in hospitals or when someone is gravely ill, I don’t think anyone would discourage the use of sanitation products or antibiotics. There are situations, however, when we might want to ask a lot of questions if antibiotics are being considered, or forego a habitual hand-wash when there is no suspected need for it.

One important situation is with our children. As a new father, I was amazed when my daughter was treated with antibiotics less than a day after she was born. I’m grateful for that, of course, because she was born with a case of pneumonia and there were indications of infection, but it goes to show how children can be exposed to these treatments very early in life.

Take ear-aches, for example. They are one of the most common illnesses for babies, and almost always treated with antibiotics despite the fact that ear infections are almost always caused by a viral infection rather than bacteria. Of course, the antibiotics may help with secondary infections in these cases, but it may be worth asking questions to understand the pros and cons of whatever treatment is being considered, and whether it is absolutely necessary. Pediatrician Claire McCarthy notes that, with ear-infections, “more than half of kids will start to feel better in a day with or without antibiotics, and in a week that number goes up to three-quarters.”

There are more things to be done on the community level than on the individual level, but we can all help raise awareness of this issue. In the words of Dr. Martin Blaser, as quoted by PBS Newshour, “doctors should stop over-prescribing antibiotics, especially to young children. Researchers should work on new antibiotics that can target specific infections, minimizing the good bacteria casualties, and potentially developing effective probiotics — these are beneficial microbes introduced into the body. And go easy on the hand-sanitizers and anti-bacterial soaps.”

In the end, the issue of protecting the human microbiome is one that must be addressed with a grain of salt. It’s about raising awareness, not dictating the continuation or cessation of sanitation practices. That being said, that raised awareness is supposed to influence people’s choices on an individual level so that we can all be more conscientious about the health of our species. Will this information make an immediate impact on your life? Maybe, but I don’t expect it to. Instead, I hope that one day, as you reach for the hand sanitizer, or as you talk with your doctor, this issue might pop into your head and you will think more deeply about your health. You will make informed choices, and that’s the best thing any of us can do.

Sources:

http://www.actionbioscience.org/genomics/the_human_microbiome.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_Microbiome_Project

http://www.babycenter.com/0_ear-infections-in-babies_83.bc#articlesection3

http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/ear-infection/understanding-otitis-media-basics

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/theres-extinction-happening-stomach/

http://www.parents.com/baby/health/ear-infection/the-right-way-to-treat-an-ear-infection/

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/strange-but-true-humans-carry-more-bacterial-cells-than-human-ones/

Ants on a Log… and other fruits and veggies made fun!

By: | Published: June 4, 2014

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Hi, my name is Bryant. I’m 26 years old and… I hate celery. It’s too stringy, gets stuck in my teeth, and the taste is pretty forgettable.

Why does this matter? Well, my dear wife recently made me a plate of food which included something called “Ants on a log.” Yep, it was celery, but with a peanut butter filling and sweet raisins on top. It looked pretty much like, well, ants on a log and… I liked it! For some odd reason, my aversion to celery vanished and I ate every one of those ants and the logs they sat on.

Okay, so here is why that story is relevant: This month is Fresh Fruit and Veggie month, and it got me thinking how so many fruits and veggies can taste so good and still get overlooked, in favor of processed foods with loads of salt, sugar and fat poured into them. Take my apple, for example. My wife (bless her heart) packed it into my lunch today and it’s still sitting on my desk. It’s getting close to quitting time now, and I still haven’t taken a bite out that big, juicy looking orb. The pack of grasshopper cookies just a few feet away, however, has been visited by me at least a few times throughout the day. What gives?

The fact is that our brains are programmed to go after food with high fat, sugar, and salt content. Back in the Stone Age, things like that were hard to come by so the brain made them taste really, really good to let us know that we shouldn’t pass up on them. Well, our brains are still telling us that, and it’s hard not to listen. Maybe in a few million years, our brains will have adapted to the abundance of fat and flavor we have in the 21st century, but until then, we’ve got to find a way to balance our diets despite the appeal of that stuff.

Given the situation we are in, I wonder if things like Ants on a Log could help us achieve a more balanced diet. I know someone out there is probably thinking, “dude, peanut butter filled celery isn’t much better than a cookie.” I concede that point, but now that I’ve had the ants on a log, I might just be able to eat celery without the peanut butter or ants – oh, I mean raisin. Think of it as some kind of… gateway vegetable.

Now, celery itself doesn’t seem like the most nutrient rich vegetable or fruit that is out there, but if you take the same concept as Ants on a Log and apply it to other vegies and fruits, you might find something delightful and healthy. The ultimate goal, of course is to eat fruits and veggies just the way they are, but for kids and people like me who never learned to eat their veggies, maybe this could be a successful strategy. I wonder if some kind of mushroom treat could help me get over my fear of mushrooms (that would be the day).

This is also relevant because here at the Center of Dental Professionals we are interested in the health of our patients and community. Eating fresh fruits and vegetable is good not just for your overall health, but for your oral health as well.

So if you think the Ants on a Log strategy might work for you or your kids, I’ve searched far and wide across the endless expanse of the World Wide Web to gather up fun serving suggestion for fruits and vegetables. Here they are for your enjoyment:

Watermelon Whale

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Fishing With Celery

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Carrot Flower With Dip

flower

Melon Heartsicles

heart

Fruit Sushi

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Fruity Coral Snake

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Fruit Birthday Cake

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Melon Balls

melon

Fruit Kabobs

stars

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

strawberries

Is Your Future Compelling you?

By: | Published: May 21, 2014

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Close your eyes and think about your dreams. Think about your highest hopes, aspirations, and goals in life. How do you feel?

If you’re feeling a sensation of excitement, as if an electric charge is going through you, then there’s a good chance you are living into a compelling future!

If you don’t get that feeling, it’s okay. Maybe this article can shed some light on how to invent a personal, compelling future that really gets you going. After all, who we are today depends largely on who we are striving to become, and that striving is motivated by having a compelling future ahead of us.

What is a compelling future? It’s an anticipated event or circumstance that has an immediate effect in the present. In other words, it’s a possibility that informs our choices and state of being in the here and now, even though that possibility has yet to come to fruition. If a possibility compels you, then you will be moved to act and feel in a way that is aligned with that possibility.

For a visual illustration, imagine a city on the horizon with a long, winding road leading to it. As you drive toward the city, you notice that the road has many forks and turn-offs along the way with signs telling you where they lead. You also notice that the path to reach the city will take several of those turns, and you can choose to follow that path or not. If the possibility of getting to the city compels you, then you will follow the signs that point there, instead of going another way. In this way, the destination, or the compelling future of getting there, has an effect on you before you even arrive. It informs your choices.

Not only does a compelling future inform your choices, but it should inform your outlook on life, too. If you have a destination, you will look toward that destination as you travel toward it. If that destination is appealing, then looking toward it will excite you. If it is unappealing or dreadful, then it probably won’t be so exciting.

Now bring those concepts back into your life. Do your dreams, goals and aspirations influence the choices you make? What about how you feel? Does the future you see for yourself excite you, or bring you down?

If getting to a certain destination or reaching a certain goal has compelled you in the past, but not anymore, it could be for several reasons. Perhaps that future is no longer appealing to you, and a little bit of soul searching might be necessary to find a future that is.

Or perhaps a certain aspiration is still appealing, but you have lost sight of it, or no longer believe it is possible to get there. This is where having strength in the face of opposition can play a huge role. So many of our heroes became who they are by overcoming obstacles and never giving up on themselves, so if we want to accomplish great things in our lives, we should probably follow their example.

As an aspiring author, many stories of successful novelists come to mind when I think of overcoming the odds. Take J.K. Rowling and the Harry Potter series, for example, which was rejected by twelve different publishers before one of them reluctantly accepted it. The hit series would never have been published if she had given up.

It is important to remember that a desirable future is only compelling if you believe in it and you are working toward it. If you consistently make choices that do not lead to that goal or dream, there will be a conflict between what you hope for and what you are actually doing. This can only lead to frustration and discouragement.

But why do we make choices that take us away from our goals, or lose sight of a possibility we once believed in? There are many reasons. Sometimes we give up, or sometimes other things get in the way, but whatever the reason, it is important to acknowledge it so that we can change our mindset.

What truly matters is that we turn toward a compelling future, whatever it may be. It could even be the same future we were already living into, but with a new, compelling view on it.

If what you want doesn’t seem possible, try working for it anyway. You might be surprised at the doors that open up for you. Here at the Center of Dental Professionals, I was never hired to write the blog, but after mentioning that I liked to write… well, you can see what happened. The key is to put yourself out there and strive. Sometimes there is no easy way, but there is always a way.

The compelling future you live into will have an impact on your life in the present, and that is what truly matters. It’s not necessarily reaching the destination, but the journey and anticipation of reaching it that makes life exciting and empowers you. Regardless of what future you are living into, make it a compelling one, and your horizons will always be something that excites you.

The Annual Easter Egg Hunt and an Exclusive Interview with the Easter Bunny!

By: | Published: April 23, 2014

On April 19th, The Center of Dental Professionals and A Kids Place Dentistry held our Annual Community Easter Egg Hunt!

The festivities included prizes for those little ones who found golden eggs, refreshments, and an appearance from the Easter Bunny! Needless to say, it was a mighty good time for kids and adults all around.

While I was at the Easter Egg Hunt, enjoying the festivities, I managed to pull the Easter Bunny away from all the photo-ops and candy distribution just long enough for a quick interview. We had a delightful conversation about his passion for making children smile, the challenges of being a mythical holiday mascot, and the importance of keeping his rabbit teeth nice and clean. Here is the transcript for your enjoyment:

Bryant: Mr. Easter Bunny, thanks so much for taking a little time for this.

Easter Bunny: Oh, it’s no problem. I do what I can, ya know. If I never appear in the media, and make myself a ghost-story, well, then people stop believing. (laughs)

Bryant: Can’t have that, right?

Easter Bunny: No, that wouldn’t be good at all. Being in this industry, as you can imagine, we all know somebody who has fallen victim to unbelief. It can be pretty devastating.

Bryant: And a growing problem?

Easter Bunny: Yeah, yeah it is. But this is Easter Weekend so we don’t need to fret about it. We’re just having a good time, right?

Bryant: Yes of course. Gotta stay positive, as always. So tell me, Mr. Easter Bunny, what is it that makes you so good at what you do?

Easter Bunny: Hmm… I’d say, like anything, being the Easter Bunny takes a lot of practice. So I think it’s just dedication, and a lot of passion for what I do.

Bryant: What kind of thing do you have to practice?

Easter Bunny: Lots of things, actually. For example, it’s not every day that little kids see a giant, bipedal rabbit walking around. It’s natural for them to be a little scared, at first, but if I do my job right, I’ll act in such a way that shows the kids that I’m really just as gentle as the bunnies in the local pet shop. You gotta earn their trust by avoiding fast movements, getting down on their level, that kind of thing.

Bryant: What else do you need to practice?

Easter Bunny: Hiding eggs. That is the essential skill of an Easter Bunny. I mean, that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? If you don’t know how to hide an egg, you won’t make it in the Easter business. It’s that simple.

Bryant: What goes into hiding an egg?

Easter Bunny: It’s about simplicity. This isn’t the Extreme Easter Egg Hiding Games. I just think that digging ten foot holes and burying our eggs in the ground or painting the eggs camouflage goes against the spirit of the holiday. It’s really no fun unless the kids actually find the eggs. That’s where all the joy comes from.

Bryant: Yeah, I think you’re right. Otherwise it just gets frustrating for the little ones.

Easter Bunny: Yes, it does.

Bryant: So what drives your passion for Easter?

Easter Bunny: Making the kids smile. I love that.

Bryant: That’s great because I think everyone here at The Center for Dental Professionals and A Kids Place Dentistry can relate to that. We love seeing our patients’ smiles.

Easter Bunny: Yeah, I bet. Cuz you guys give them clean smiles, right?

Bryant: Exactly.

Easter Bunny: Yeah, that’s important, especially after all the candy I pass out. (laughs)

Bryant: (laughs) Oh dear… so now we know where all the cavities come from!

Easter Bunny: Well, a little candy is great as long as you brush your teeth afterwards.

Bryant: Yes of course. I’m just kidding around.

Easter Bunny: (laughs) I know, I know.

Bryant: But all joking aside, Mr. Easter Bunny, I noticed that your choppers are sparkling white. Are you passionate about oral health?

Easter Bunny: Absolutely. Not only is it part of my overall appearance, which is important in this business because I don’t want to scare away the children, but it’s also important because I eat a lot of carrots, which requires good, strong teeth.

Bryant: Well, when you need a cleaning or any other dental work done, will you come in to see us?

Easter Bunny: Of course. You guys are great. It’s a great dental practice you have here. I’ll recommend you guys to everyone. Kids, parents, and my mythical friends too.

Bryant: Well thank you. And thank you so much for talking with me.

Easter Bunny: My pleasure. Thank you.

Want to go to Mars? Better see your dentist first.

By: | Published: April 9, 2014

Imagine that you are an astronaut in training at NASA, and you could be selected from a pool of aspiring space-farers to be on the very first manned flight to mars. Or maybe you have made it to the final cut in the selection process for the privately funded Mars One project, and might be one of four people to establish the very first human colony on the red planet. Pretty exciting, right?

But then you get the bad news. You have not been selected, and all your hopes, dreams, and years of preparation come crashing to the ground. All was for naught.

When you ask why you were cut from the program, they tell you it’s because of your teeth. Your less than adequate oral health and previous dental work disqualified you because your teeth, crowns, fillings, etc. could not withstand the extreme forces that you would be subjected to during space flight. Extreme pressure might cause severe pain if you have a cavity, or extreme vibration and g-forces might cause a filling to come out, or a crown to come loose.

This is no joke. Oral health is a real concern for astronauts for the exact reasons mentioned above. This issue strikes closer to home than we might think, too, considering that seven of the Mars One candidates who survived the first cut live right here in Utah. To them, we offer our congratulations and wish them luck as they strive to make history. Most of us, however, will never travel into space and probably don’t need to worry about g-forces. So why did we imagine otherwise?

Oral health has an impact on our opportunities no matter where we are, whether it be in space or with our feet firmly planted on the beautiful planet we call home. Take Olympic athletes, for example, who, like the astronauts, are striving to go where no man has gone before. Their frontier is not space, but the limits of the human body. The mouth is part of that body, and though it may not be doing all the work, it is integrally connected. An athlete with a toothache may not concentrate as well, and an athlete with an incomplete or yellow smile may not feel as confident as they would without those problems. And if you think I’m making this up, just keep reading.

A study conducted by the University College London, headed by Professor Ian Needleman in 2012 and published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, concluded that the oral health of the 2012 Summer Olympic athletes was poor, compared to other groups of similar age (likely due to the high levels of carbohydrates in an athlete’s diet, and the suppression of their immune system caused by training, which can lead to increased tooth and gum decay). Furthermore, 42% of the athletes were “bothered by oral health” issues, 28% percent reported that oral health issues affected their quality of life, and nearly one in five athletes believed that those issues had a negative impact on their athletic performance.

What about the rest of us? A study by the Ostrow School of Dentistry at USC concluded that kids with poor oral health can be at a severe disadvantage at school. If you add that to the myriad of other studies on this topic, it becomes hard to miss the impact our oral health can have on our lives and our opportunities, no matter who we are.

Here at the Center of Dental Professionals and A Kids Place Dentistry, we want our patients to succeed at life. We appreciate you and cherish your loyalty to us. We want to help you maintain good oral health so that you can do everything that life has to offer, whether it be flying to mars, winning a medal, performing well at school, or any other goal you set your mind to, big or small. Call us and come in for an appointment, and we’ll take care of you no matter what your dental needs are. That’s our promise to you, so that you can explore new frontiers in your own life with confidence. You can reach us at 801-747-8015.