Which comes first: Happiness or Success?

Which comes first: Happiness or Success?

Early in January we shared with everyone that as a team we like to set personal and team goals. Rather than the typical “New Years Resolution” we choose One Word to focus on in our personal and professional lives. If you haven’t had a chance to read the blog, Click here to check it out!

Well, here we are almost half way through 2017 and we wonder how everyone is doing with their goals. One way that the 12 Oaks Dental team achieves personal growth throughout the year is to read! Right now, as a group, we are reading The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor. In the book Shawn asks “Which comes first: Happiness or Success?” So often we tell ourselves things like “If I could just get that promotion, I’ll be happy.” or “If I could just lose the weight, I’ll be happy.” but once the goal is reached, are we actually happy? Or, do we move on to the next thing we want achieve. In a blog written by Shawn he says:

“Now for the good news. Based on the findings in The Happiness Advantage: if you reverse the order of the formula, you end up with greater happiness and greater success rates. Happiness is an advantage, and the precursor to greater success. In every single relationship, business, and educational outcome improves when the brain is positive first. If you cultivate happiness while in the midst of your struggles, work, at school, while unemployed or single, you increase your chances of attaining all the goals you are pursuing…including happiness.”

How to put Happiness before Success

Who couldn’t use more happiness?! Shawn Anchor advised his Harvard student to stop equating the future with happiness. Success does not mean happiness. Happiness is a work ethic. He suggests that you try the 21 day challenge. The challenge is to pick one of these five researched habits and try it out for 21 days in a row to create a positive habit.

1. Write down three new things you are grateful for each day into a blank word document. Research shows this will significantly improve your optimism even 6 months later, and raises your success rates significantly.

2. Write for 2 minutes a day describing one positive experience you had over the past 24 hours. This is a strategy to help transform you from a task-based thinker, to a meaning based thinker who scans the world for meaning instead of endless to-dos. This dramatically increases work happiness.

3. Exercise for 10 minutes a day. This trains your brain to believe your behavior matters, which causes a cascade of success throughout the rest of the day.

4. Meditate for 2 minutes, focusing on your breath going in and out. This will help you undo the negative effects of multitasking. Research shows you get multiple tasks done faster if you do them one at a time. It also decreases stress and raises happiness.

5. Write one, quick email first thing in the morning thanking or praising a member on your team. This significantly increases your feeling of social support, which in my study at Harvard was the largest predictor of happiness for the students.

Try it!! What the worst that could happen? We hope you will share with us your story of triumph!

A Word to the Wise: Don’t Let Wisdom Teeth Cause Trouble

wisdom teeth

Wisdom teeth usually begin to develop and show on x-rays in our early teens. And that’s the best time to start monitoring their growth to see if your wisdom teeth can stay, or if it’s better to get them removed. While all wisdom teeth don’t necessarily have to be extracted, all of us at our dental office in Austin want our patients to know that if wisdom teeth removal is recommended, it’s for a good reason.

When Can Wisdom Teeth Stay?

Sometimes, wisdom teeth are growing in just fine and there is no reason to discuss or consider removing them. In most cases, if your wisdom teeth are healthy, completely grown in, positioned correctly so they don’t affect your bite or neighboring teeth, and are able to be cleaned properly, they can stay right where they are. However, it’s more common that they will need to be removed, sometimes before they’re fully erupted.

Reasons Wisdom Teeth Need to be Extracted

Proper Care Becomes Difficult

Even if your wisdom teeth came in without a hitch, you may not necessarily get to keep them. In fact, one of the main reasons wisdom teeth need to come out is that they are difficult to care for. Your wisdom teeth, the four molars in the back of your mouth, are hard to reach with a toothbrush, and even harder to floss. This tends to increase the likelihood of gum disease and cavities. If any issues are noticed during your routine checkups with your Austin dentist, removal may be recommended to reduce the risk of more cavities and infection later.

There’s No Room For Them

Another reason – the most common reason – why wisdom teeth need to be removed is because there isn’t enough room in your mouth. This can often be handled with an easy wisdom teeth removal before any teeth begin to erupt through the gums. However, if the procedure is delayed or avoided, the teeth can get trapped in the bone and become impacted. Once wisdom teeth are impacted, the surgery is a bit more complicated, but still fairly easy.

Keeping up with your regularly scheduled appointments at our Austin dental office is an important step in monitoring your wisdom teeth and making sure that everything in your mouth is healthy, functioning correctly, and looking great. If you need someone to check out your wisdom teeth, or your smile as a whole, give us a call today.

Serving patients in Austin, Westlake, Cedar Park

“Why Are My Teeth So Sensitive?”

sensitive

Do you experience shooting pain through your teeth when you drink something hot or bite into something cold? If so, you may be suffering from sensitive teeth. It’s a common problem for many people, but our dental office in Austin wants to help explain some possible reasons behind your sensitivity and how we can fix it.

Reason #1: Clenching & Grinding

Although tooth enamel is really strong stuff, it can be worn away by chronically scraping teeth together through clenching or grinding (also known as bruxism). When enamel erodes it leaves the middle part of the tooth exposed and sensitivity results. Tooth clenching and grinding can not only lead to sensitivity, but also other dental problems like cracked or chipped teeth which require restorative dentistry to repair.

Solution: Tooth clenching and grinding can be treated. Typically a custom-made bruxism mouthguard is recommended. These mouthguards keep your teeth from scraping together, protecting them from damage.

Reason #2: Brushing Too Hard

Although it seems to make sense that the harder you brush your teeth, the cleaner your mouth will be, that just isn’t the case. Using a side-to-side motion or scrubbing too vigorously will make enamel wear down more quickly than normal, increasing the risk of tooth sensitivity.

Solution: Revise your brushing technique. You should brush using small, gentle circles while holding your brush at a 45 degree angle. You may also want to make sure your brush has soft bristles for an even gentler clean.

Reason #3: Gum Disease

One of the common symptoms of gum disease is sensitivity. Why? Gum disease can cause the gums to recede, exposing the tooth roots. These roots contain nerves and if these nerves are unprotected, it can be very painful.  In addition to sensitivity, signs of gum disease can include red, swollen, and bleeding gums.

Solution: See your dentist in Austin as soon as you can. Gum disease is a serious concern that can not only cause tooth sensitivity, but also contributes to whole body problems like strokes and heart disease.  

If you have sensitive teeth, give our Austin dental office a call to schedule an appointment with us. We’ll work with you to determine the cause and discuss relief options.

Accepting new patients from Austin, Westlake, Cedar Park and beyond. 

“Why Do I Bite My Lip All The Time?”

biting

Whether it’s your lip, your cheeks, or your tongue, biting the tissues in and around your mouth is a troublesome habit for many. Mostly brought on by stress or as a nervous habit, cheek or lip biting can be hard to break. At our dental office in Austin, we’d like our patients to know just how harmful this habit can actually be and provide them tips on how to stop.

Explanations to Why We Bite

If you’re a chronic nibbler, the cause may be nerve related and should be resolved through actively recognizing when you do it and working consciously to stop it. Sometimes, a bite to the oral tissues is accidental, typically occurring when trying to multitask eating and talking. Although we all know how painful it can be, the occasional bite usually isn’t a big deal and should heal on its own.

However, there are times when lip or cheek biting can be unavoidable. An abundance of accidental bites could be a sign of something more serious like a misaligned bite (malocclusion) or even TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder). When teeth don’t align properly, the likelihood of your cheek, lip, or tongue getting in between them increases.

Why is Chronic Biting Bad?

No matter what the underlying cause is, biting any part of the mouth hurts! And the discomfort sometimes lasts much longer than the initial zing of pain upon contact. What’s more, after a bite, a mouth sore usually develops. These sores can become infected if proper oral hygiene isn’t maintained, and infection in the mouth is never a good thing. If malocclusion is the main cause behind your accidental bites, a whole host of other potential problems can arise including headaches, tooth shifting, and jaw pain.

How Can You Stop?

Like we’ve discussed, if you’ve identified your biting as a nervous habit, try to consciously work at stopping it. Also chew more deliberately and pay attention while eating to reduce the chance of sustaining an injury. If this is an ongoing problem, talk with your dentist in Austin to determine if your bite may be misaligned.

At our Austin dental office, we’re always here to help current and new patients with any concerns they may have. If you’re experiencing the pain of chronically biting your cheeks, lips, or tongue, give us a call to schedule an appointment today. We’ll determine the cause of your biting and work with you to help correct the problem.

Welcoming patients from Austin, Westlake, Cedar Park and beyond. 

All you need is love….But a little bit of chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt!

All you need is love….But a little bit of chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt!

For as long as we can remember, people have associated a box of chocolates with Valentine’s Day.

But did you know that eating dark chocolate is actually good for you?  Here at 12 Oaks Dental, we strive not only to keep you smiling, but to increase your overall health awareness.heart

Dark Chocolates have many health benefits you may not be aware of.

 Here are just a few:

Dark Chocolate Lowers Blood Pressure, per a study that appears in the Aug 27 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association, dark chocolate can actually lower your blood pressure.

Antioxidants are Found in Dark Chocolate – Dark chocolates, but not milk chocolate is a potent antioxidant. Antioxidants eat up free radicals, destructive molecules that are implicated in heart disease and other ailments. Heart disease is proven associated to periodontal disease.

Improve Cardiovascular Function- known to raise HLD levels, in the long term, this should cause much less cholesterol to lodge in the arteries.

Protect Your Skin Against Sun Damage -the flavanols found in dark chocolate can protect against sun-induced damage, improve blood flow to the skin and increase skin density and hydration.

Improve Brain Function – is known to improve cognitive function in the elderly with mental impairment. It also contains stimulant substances like caffeine and theobromine, which may improve short term brain function.

So, go ahead and treat yourself and your Valentine to a box of dark chocolates this year, you may have to balance the extra calories by eating less of other things, but the benefits of chocolate may just be what the doctor ordered! Of course, great brushing habits and regular dental visits with our hygienists are a must!

So, have some chocolate today! We are! Happy Valentine’s day!!

Simple Ways to Limit Your Exposure to Sugar

reduce sugar

There’s nothing wrong with a little sugar indulgence every now and then. We get it, sometimes you just need a little fix with a sweet treat. But as most people know, sugar is something every dentist really doesn’t like. And with good reason (more on that in a bit). At our dental office in Austin, we want to help our patients limit how much sugar they consume with these simple tips.

What’s The Big Deal About Sugar Anyway?

Sugar is needed in order to have our bodies function properly. But too much of it can lead to some pretty serious issues. An abundance of sugar ingestion contributes to tooth decay and enamel erosion. When this happens, patients tend to need dental treatment like cavity fillings and perhaps even root canals to protect teeth from more damage. But that’s not all. A diet high in sugar also negatively affects the whole body. Too much sugar can cause headaches, lead to overeating, obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and contribute to cardiovascular disease.

How Much Sugar Do You Need?

The amount of sugar someone should consume varies as we get older and even depends on our gender. Recommendations from the American Heart Association start at 12 teaspoons per day for anyone 3 and under, 21 teaspoons from 4 to 8, and increases to 29-34 grams in boys 9 to 19, and 23 to 25 grams in girls in the same age range. Once we reach adulthood, maximum daily sugar intake for men is 37.5 grams and 25 grams for women.

What Are The Best Ways to Limit Sugar in Your Diet?

  • Eliminate sweets, or enjoy them in moderation. This tip seems obvious, but we do understand how difficult this may be. When you crave something sweet, opt for a piece of fruit.
  • Know what you’re eating. Sugar can hide in some surprising places, and you may be unaware of just how much you’re actually eating. Get in the habit of reading the nutritional facts on your groceries.
  • Enjoy home cooked meals. Making your own meals at home allows you to control what ingredients you use and can help you not only limit sugar, but eat healthier overall.

Taking these steps to decrease your sugar intake can help keep your teeth and body healthy. But that doesn’t mean other parts of your oral health care routine can take a backseat. It’s still, and always will be, important to brush your teeth twice a day, floss once a day, and visit your dentist in Austin two times a year.

If you’re experiencing a dental problem, or if you’re looking for a new dentist, we welcome you to call our Austin dental office to schedule an appointment. We’re always happy to help.

Welcoming patients from Austin, Westlake, Cedar Park and beyond. 

Diabetes and Your Teeth: The Importance of Extra Care

diabetes

At our Austin dental office, one of the first things we do when meeting new patients is go over a complete health history. What are we looking for? Things like diabetes, heart disease, etc. Why? Because they can sometimes cause specific symptoms that affect not just your overall health, but your oral health too. Diabetes in particular can lead to an increased risk of periodontal (gum) disease. Here are some frequently asked questions we get about diabetes and how it affects our oral health.

“What Should I Share With My Dentist About My Diabetes?”

We love getting to know our patients in order to better understand how we can help their smile be healthy and last a lifetime.

If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, it’s important to share these things:

  • Any changes in your prescriptions or health
  • Your results of some of your diabetes blood tests (the A1C or fasting blood glucose)
  • Your need for antibiotics before and after dental treatment for uncontrolled diabetes

“How Does My Blood Sugar Affect My Oral Health?”

We understand that maintaining your blood glucose levels isn’t always easy. But did you know that keeping these numbers stable also helps oral health too? It helps reduce your risk of losing teeth, gum disease, and other problems. Your Austin dentist knows that the presence of gum disease may also play a role in the rise of blood sugar, making diabetes even more difficult to regulate.

“Is Brushing and Flossing Different With Diabetes?”

Keeping up with your regular brushing and flossing routine at home isn’t any different, whether or not you’re living with diabetes. It’s always important to brush twice daily and floss once — no matter what illness you may or may not have. Try using a fluoride toothpaste for added decay defense, and brushing in the morning and at night. Your toothbrush should have soft bristles that work best to clean teeth with soft circular motions.

“What About Diabetes and My Diet?”

Since patients living with diabetes are restricted from consuming sugary foods, this is extremely helpful for teeth too. Always be sure to work with your doctor to find the right kind of dietary plan to suit your needs. We always recommend making plenty of veggies, fruits, and whole grains a part of your diet.

At our dental office in Austin, we are always available to answer any questions you may have about diabetes and how it can affect oral health. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or if you ever notice any changes in your mouth or teeth.

Welcoming patients from Austin, Westlake, Cedar Park.

What We Know About The Link Between Gum Disease & Dementia

What We Know About The Link Between Gum Disease & Dementia

dementia

Each November, we recognize the 5 million Americans struggling with debilitating Alzheimer’s Disease and their loving caregivers. While there’s still a lot of research to be done on this disease, there has been a great deal of scientific research and studies devoted to learning if there’s a possible connection between gum (or periodontal) disease and dementia.

At our dental office in Austin we share the importance of maintaining excellent oral hygiene with our family of patients every day. It’s important to ensure your mouth is free from harmful gum disease and the bacteria that comes with it! Not only for your mouth’s sake, but your whole health.

  • Reminder: It’s a good time to make sure dementia patients are receiving the oral health care they need, as they’re at an increased risk of gum disease and tooth decay due to a decline in personal hygiene and side effects associated with some medications.

What Research Tells Us

According to a recent article in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, there is a chance people with poor oral hygiene or elevated gum (or periodontal) disease could possibly be at greater risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. One study took samples of brain tissue from patients with dementia, along with tissue samples from patients without dementia. What interested scientists was: the dementia patient tissue had gum disease bacteria, but the non-dementia tissue did not.

  • Reminder: There’s still more research that needs to be conducted to better understand the potential link between gum disease and dementia. As of this year, there’s still no definitive proof that gum disease causes dementia or that they are directly related.

Blame The Bacteria

The connection between gum disease and dementia (along with other possible illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease) is due to bacteria. Our mouths are full of bacterial combinations — some good, some bad. The bad bacteria can end up in our bloodstream due to diseased gums simply by eating, chewing, and brushing, and can affect the rest of the body.

As we continue to see what happens with the possible gum disease and dementia correlation, our Austin dental office would like to remind patients about the importance of keeping up with your regular oral hygiene routine and seeing us for cleanings. Give us a call to schedule your next appointment!

Accepting new patients from Austin, Westlake, Cedar Park and the surrounding areas.

Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About Oral Health

oral health

Oral health is an important part of maintaining an overall healthy body. At our Austin dental office, we want to make sure all of our patients and neighbors know the ins and outs of getting their mouths optimally clean so they’re sure to reap all the benefits of good oral hygiene.

The Tools

Toothbrush – Besides picking your favorite color or one that coordinates with your bathroom decor, choose a toothbrush that has a medium-sized, soft-bristled head to ensure comfort and avoid damage. When the bristles start to fray, or following a bout of illness, trade in your trusty toothbrush for a new one.

Toothpaste – Select a toothpaste that fits your specific needs. Suffer from sensitivity? Search for a formula that has desensitizing ingredients. Looking for other protection? There are numerous options to help a variety of issues like bad breath or weakened enamel. Whatever your needs, find the boxes with the American Dental Association (ADA) seal.

Floss – Again, there are different types of floss for different types of teeth. Those with tight teeth should use waxed floss for easy gliding while those with teeth that are a bit farther apart can use regular floss. Hate flossing all together? Try a floss pick for easier use.

The Techniques

Brushing and flossing seem incredibly easy, and they are, but that also means it’s easy to not pay attention while doing them. Make sure your teeth are getting the attention they deserve by brushing twice a day, everyday, in small, circular motions. Hit all sides of the teeth and brush for at least two minutes every time. When it comes to flossing, it’s crucial to do it everyday and get in between each tooth and up under the gum line.

The Twice-A-Year Visits

Regular visits to your dentist in Austin at least two times a year help make sure no problems are lurking in your mouth, and if they are, they’re caught and treated early. These visits can catch cavities developing, early signs of oral cancer, or gum disease. They’re also a great time to talk with your dentist about any cosmetic dentistry or restorative dentistry you may be interested in like tooth whitening, dental implants, or cosmetic bonding.

If your at-home oral health routine is on point — you’re using the right toothbrush and toothpaste and you remember to floss — but you’re missing your bi-annual visits with your dentist, your mouth isn’t in its best, healthiest state. Take your mouth to its ultimate stage of health by scheduling an appointment at our Austin dental office today.

Accepting new patients from Austin, Westlake, Cedar Park and beyond. 

3 Dental Health Facts All Men Should Know

men's health

While it’s typically recommended that everyone has a preventive dental care appointment and dental cleaning at least twice a year, men are less likely to visit their Austin dentist regularly than women. Many men skip these important check ups and rather only schedule an appointment once they have a problem. The truth is, seeing the dentist every six months can keep these problems from occurring in the first place and help keep mouths and bodies healthy.

  • Advanced Dental Treatments. Since we now know that many men don’t maintain regular dental care to help keep small concerns from getting more serious, it should come as no surprise that the likelihood for needed advanced dental treatment in men is higher. One of the common dental problems across all ages and genders is decay. When decay is left untreated, there’s a higher risk for a necessary root canal and dental crown. When it’s really bad, teeth may fall out or need to be extracted then replaced with a dental bridge, dentures, or dental implants.
  • Gum Disease. The American Dental Association (ADA) and Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) report that men are more likely to suffer from gum disease than women. In fact, between the ages of 30-54, 34% of men have gum disease compared to 23% of women. Gum disease is a serious condition that not only affects the mouth, but can contribute to other problems throughout the rest of the body. There’s evidence to support that gum disease may lead to heart disease, respiratory disease, and even certain types of cancer. Regular visits to the dentist help diagnose gum disease early before it has a chance to affect whole-body health.
  • Oral Cancer. The word cancer itself always insinuates fear. Oral cancer is no different and actually kills more than 8,000 people a year. When caught early, treatment can be very successful. When it’s not, there’s a whole host of issues that can result. If facial surgery is needed to remove the cancer, there’s a chance for disfigurement. Oral cancer can also spread to other areas of your body, making treatment more complex. Your dentist will check for oral cancer at every preventive care appointment and get treatment started as soon as possible if there’s a problem.

If it’s time for you to take care of your smile and see a dentist, call our dental office in Austin to schedule an appointment today.

Accepting patients from Austin, Westlake, Cedar Park and beyond.

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