Finding Your Happiness

In honor of March being National Happiness Month, we wanted to write a post about why happiness is simple to achieve, yet so elusive for us all, and some tips to actually help you find what makes you happy.
Though happiness can’t be bought, we sure do try! Not in a bad way, there are things we love doing which involves purchasing items for. If you love cycling, you can’t cycle without a bike, right? You can try, but you’d probably look like something out of a Monty Python sketch! Happiness is such a business that the pharmaceutical companies are thriving from the multibillion dollar sales from their anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medications. But why is happiness so hard to find? Well, it depends on how you define happiness.
What does defining happiness mean? Is happiness merely the side effect of having a great day? Is it the absence of negativity or negative people in your life? Is it buying that new special thing you’ve had your eye on for a while? What is happiness to you? The thing with happiness is that you can be happy overall, but still have a bad day, deal with a horrible co-worker or boss, or even get read-ended on your way to the store to buy that special item you’ve been saving up for.
For thousands of years, people have tried to define happiness. In ancient Greece, they thought happiness is meeting your potential. Benedictine monks think happiness is tied directly with gratitude – being thankful for you have and not reflecting on what you lack. Michael J. Fox thinks happiness is acceptance for what is. So, depending on how you view happiness can define how you go about achieving happiness.
There are some common tips floating around on the internet about how to find happiness. The top five tips are:
·         Embrace challenges
o   Don’t be negative about them. Look at every challenge as an opportunity to grow.
o   Failure happens. When you fail, you are creating opportunities to learn from your mistakes and keep from repeating them.
·         Don’t be so serious!
o   Do you have a hard time letting go? Realize that life is meant to be lived, not obsessed over.
·         Be thankful
o   Gratitude for the people in your life, for the things you currently, have, and for the characteristics that make you, You really do bring true happiness. When you let go of worrying over your flaws and your lack of possessions, you are able to let go of negative perceptions that are holding you back.
·         Live in the now, not in the past, nor in the future.
o   The past is long gone, so worrying over what has already happened. Equally obsessing over the future is not going to help your mental state either. Accepting that the only thing you can control is what you are doing at this very moment is liberating. Remember, the only constant in life is change. Celebrate that every second you live is an opportunity to be happy and to grow.
·         Choose to be healthy
o   This isn’t a diatribe about why you should start exercising, Just a reminder that getting enough sleep, laugh more, and exercise more are all ways to be healthy mentally, emotionally, and physically. Exercise releases endorphins – your happy hormones – that elevate your mood and make your day seem a little brighter not matter what is going on around you. It also helps you deal with stress better.

One thing to mention is making your Happy Bucket List. Sounds corny, but hear us out. Think about the little things you can do every day that make you happy and write these down. Then think about the big things that make you happy and write those down. Start with the little things and make them a part of your routine before moving on to big things on your list to accomplish. Happiness is a very personal endeavor, but knowing you are not the only one out there trying to achieve it makes the journey just a little bit less lonely. 

Tips on Saving Money at the Dentist

Everyone wants to save money, especially at the dentist. You have dental insurance, but it seems like it just doesn’t cover much. What can you do to keep dental costs down? The following four tips can help you save money at your next visit.

#1 – Maintenance is the name of the game
Dental insurance rewards healthy mouths. This is the truth. You need to read exactly what is covered and what is not. Usually procedures and items like cleanings and x-rays are covered, but things like crowns, dentures, extractions, etc. are not. You may pay a part of the cost or all of it. So, in light of this, your best bet is to read over the very boring documentation and don’t skip check-ups!
#2 – Know which dentist is in and which is not
Staying “in-network” is probably one of the biggest cost savings there is. Why? Well, “in-network” dentists and your insurance company have agreements in place in regards to an itemized fee schedule. Covered services can see a reduction of 10-35% off regular fees when your dentist is “in-network.”[1]
#3 – Know your maximum
Dental insurance is not like health insurance where you meet your deductible and then procedures are covered except for the co-pay. When a dental company says maximum benefits, it is the total amount they will pay out on your behalf every year. When you receive your EOB (Explanation of Benefits) after each visit, take note of how much they have paid out. If an emergency procedure comes up, you will know how much you may have to pay out of pocket.
#4 – Plan treatments out
Dental treatments are not always on shot deals. They may require several visits (like crowns, bridges, implants) to complete. Planning out treatments to where the annual maximum benefit renews itself can help save you tons on out of pocket expenses. Remember, your annual maximum benefit does not carry over, so unused portions are wasted.
Saving money at the dentist requires a little effort on your part, but the reward is worth it. And always remember to brush and floss twice a day to keep dental disasters at bay.
Dr. Jorge Marquis, the Katy Cosmetic and Sedation Dentist, is dedicated to delivering state-of -the- art dental treatment with the personal long term care and compassion his patients deserve. Through the years Dr. Marquis has built his practice into an ultra-high tech, state of the art office where he can offer his patients the best possible dental care in a very relaxing atmosphere.


Is Your Mental Health Influenced by What Goes On in Your Mouth?

Almost everyone has heard that your dental health is also tied to the health of you heart. But did you know that your dental health can also affect your mental health? Crazy as it may seem, but researchers are finding links between chronic periodontal disease and Alzheimer’s disease.[1]The culprit? Porphyromonas gingivalis, the prevalent microbe that causes gum disease.

It is not just people with Alzheimer’s disease that are impacted by Porphyromonas gingivalis. Researchers at NYU found that gum inflammation may contribute to inflammation of the brain which then can lead to neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Dr. Kamer’s study, conducted in collaboration with Dr. Douglas E. Morse, Associate Professor of Epidemiology & Health Promotion at NYU College of Dentistry, and a team of researchers in Denmark, builds upon a 2008 study by Dr. Kamer which found that subjects with Alzheimer’s disease had a significantly higher level of antibodies and inflammatory molecules associated with periodontal disease in their plasma compared to healthy people.[2]
The study suggests that even people with normal cognitive health are at an increased risk of neurodegenerative diseases if the presence of periodontal inflammation is present.
Why is this a concern? Well, for starters, what if we could halt a significant portion of this disease’s sufferers by practicing good oral hygiene? Crazy sounding, yes…but several studies have proven there is a correlation between the microbe and several diseases including heart disease, kidney disorders, stroke, diabetes, and even complications in pregnancy. There are even links between Porphyromonas gingivalis and depression and anxiety disorders. For such a small organism, it sure can wreak havoc upon a person’s system.
What does this mean for you? First, seriously consider setting up an exemplary oral hygiene routine. Second, start seeing your dentist at least biannually. If you are found to have periodontal disease, you may need to see your dentist and hygienist more than twice a year (depending on severity, treatment plans can include every one, two, or three months) to treat the issue. And lastly, do not wait until the problem is so severe that your teeth are hanging by a thread. Loosing teeth presents even more issues that can impact you later in life.

[1] “Determining the presence of periodontopathic virulence factors in short-term postmortem Alzheimer’s disease brain tissue,” Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 2013
[2]“Link Between Gum Inflammation and Alzheimer’s Disease Supported by New Evidence from NYUCD,” Medical News Today, 2010.

What Every Mom Needs to Know

Mother’s Day is almost upon us. In case you have forgotten, this year it is May 8th. That’s a Sunday which is now less than two weeks away! Mothers everywhere should be celebrated and the ground they walk upon worshipped. Do you know what mothers have to put up with? Recently, there was a Tumblr postabout the six types of suburban mom stereotypes you are. A YouTube video also was posted about the different types of moms you meet. These are funny! Why? Because there is a fair amount of truth in them. There is a lot that people don’t tell you about motherhood. Here are the top 7 things that every mother should know.
#1: You Will Learn to Deal with Bodily Fluids
Seriously. No one tells you how much urine, poop, vomit, and other stuff you will have to clean up. Sometimes, you might be covered in them. That is not a joke. Kids are disease vectors and you will have all of that all over you. As a new mom, you will know what the color of your baby’s poop and its degree of solidness means. If you are a mom to a boy, well, learn to cover certain areas with a diaper or you will be sprayed. When your child(ren) are sick, you will be both nurse and maid. Bodily fluids is a part of motherhood. BTW, when your children are sick, nine times out of ten your partner is sick too. Moms are superhuman because no matter how sick they may be, nothing stops them from still mothering.
#2: There Will Always be ThatMom
The biggest thing no one tells you about motherhood is that everyone has an opinion. It starts out when you’re pregnant with everyone giving you advice. That advice doesn’t stop when your kid is born. It turns into backhanded compliments and criticisms. Look, there is always that mom in your circle that breastfeeds until the kid is three, only used cloth diapers, and prepared their kid’s food homemade. They will tell you the best way to raise your kid and keep them away from pesticides, vaccinations, and whatever “cause du jour” they are crusading. So, what! Don’t feel bad if your kid’s first words were her favorite Happy Meal order. Don’t try to be this idealize image you had of what you would be like as a mom. Throw that crap out your mental window and embrace the messiness that is motherhood. This is an awesome journey and not only did you grow a human being inside you, you are now raising the next generation. Worry more that your kid is a nice person rather than if they can spell quinoa – let alone eat it!
#3: Motherhood is Messy
See #1! Toys, dirt, and food stains. These will become the backdrop to your life. Prepare to always have a messy house and life. Heck, if you can grab a shower daily, then be impressed with yourself. There are days where you can’t wait until they are all school aged and you have five minutes to yourself. Your house will never be as clean as it was pre-kids. Dinnertime will become a power struggle. Your life will be messy. You will forget things – even your kids at some point – because motherhood kills your brain cells. No lie.
#4: You Will Always Have an Audience
Those five minutes of peace in #3…those don’t come too often at first. You’re lucky if you can have five seconds in the bathroom before the horde comes in and needs something. Always realize that you will never have a moment of privacy. Getting dressed, showering…you will always be entertaining others while doing these things. Get over your modesty now. You kids will point out your weaknesses quickly. If you have especially devious ones, they will know how to use that to their advantage! What’s that saying – there are three things that never lie—alcohol, leggings, and kids. That is the truth!
#5: Don’t Be THAT Mom
Perfect Mom? She’s a myth. She doesn’t exist. You are perfect in all your glorious imperfection. Don’t be that mom that throws shade on others. Every other mom out there is struggling and floundering her way through this thing called motherhood. You know why? Because everyone is unique and their kids are unique. No two kids are alike – even identical twins have personality differences. If you see a mom having a hard time, don’t judge her and talk about her to your friends. Help her out. You don’t know what she might be going through. If you are that mom, remember that every other mom knows what you’re going through.
#6: Mom Friends are Awesome
If you have a circle of mom friends, you are one lucky person! These are the ladies that will help you at the drop of a hat. If something comes up, they’ll pick your kids up from school and watch them until you can get them – even if you call them while they’re in the pick-up line. And you know what, you will do the same. When they say it takes a village to raise a kid, they aren’t kidding. Your mommy friends will be the people who help you as your kids are getting older. You will always have friends who have older and younger kids than your own. This is because you need the wisdom of one and be the guidance for the other. Your mommy friends will also know why you need a bottle of wine after staying up all night helping Billy get his diorama ready (the one that he just told you was due tomorrow).
#7: Being Called Mom
There is no better feeling than when your child throws his arms around you and says he loves you. When she calls you mom or mommy, there is a little flutter in your heart. There is something to be said about the bond between a child and their mother. You are the person he will turn to when the world is falling apart (because little Bobby didn’t want to sit next to him at lunch). When her heart is broken for the first time, it’ll be your shoulder she cries on. You’ll be the first person he tells when he realizes he’s found that special person to spend his life with (hopefully at age 35 – says all moms of boys!) Being a mom is not something that stops when they grow up. You are a mom for life.

So for Mother’s Day, celebrate how awesome you are and make sure everyone else does too! Motherhood is hard work and this day is a nice way of saying thank you for all that you do to keep your families happy and healthy. If your family was smart, they would know that every day is Mother’s Day and you should be worshipped at all times! 

How Your Teeth Affect Your Emotional Health

A little while ago, we wroteabout how the bacteria in your mouth can affect your mental health. Researchers have found links between periodontal disease and neurodegeneration. But, your mouth can also give intricate details about your emotional state as well. Did you know a dentist can tell you are stressed out?

Your dentist is amazing! We naturally agree with this statement…but it is oh so true! They can predict other health problems just by what they see in your mouth. A dentist can tell you are stressed out by three major signs – TMJ/TMD, canker sores, and bruxism (grinding your teeth, clenching your jaw). However, stress can cause even more issues. Scientific studies are starting to find links between stress and dental cavities and periodontal disease. How can stress cause cavities? It comes down to the effects of stress on the body’s different systems, especially the immune system.
Researchers, Michele Reners and Michel Brecx, found that when stress weakened the immune system, an imbalance was created “between the host and its parasites resulting in periodontal breakdown.”[1]They also found that under stress, saliva production is decreased causing increases in dental plaque. Your saliva is one of the biomechanical ways your body rids itself of dental microorganisms. The saliva washes the microbes into the stomach where the highly acidic environment kills them and then excretes them.
The researchers also found that emotional states such as depression and anxiety can create an imbalance. For people feeling depressed and socially isolated, more aggressive forms of periodontitis was found. Of course, anxiety and depression can lead to other behaviors such as excessive alcohol consumption and smoking which can in turn lead to periodontal issues.
At Tufts University, an ongoing study is also investigating the relationship between stress and periodontal disease.[2]They have found that chronic stress leads to elevated levels of cortisol in the blood. The high levels of cortisol cause widespread inflammation. In the gums, this inflammation is the beginning stages of gum disease.
Most dentists know that stress can also lead to people lapsing on their daily dental hygiene and this can lead to progressive gum disease issues. Dentists are starting to look at more than whether you brush and floss twice daily. They are taking a more holistic approach to their patients in order to help them keep their beautiful smiles for years to come.

[1]Int J Dent Hygiene 5, 2007; 199–204 Reners M, Brecx M. Stress and periodontal disease.
[2]Sourced from