Smile Tips for All Parts of Life from a Mom, Wife, and Dentist

September 30, 2016

Fall Fleece Toddler Jackets

Fall Fleece Toddler Jackets
Fleece Columbia  |  Jeans Gap Kids  |  Boots OshKosh B'Gosh

Growing up in Philadelphia, my list of fall fashion must haves always included a fleece. These versatile casual jackets are actually great for all seasons. In winter, they are ideal to layer underneath ski coats and as cover-ups on cool summer nights. In Washington, DC autumn is a little short but fleeces are super easy and undoubtedly fun for my little guy, especially now that he can zip it up on his own! Here are some styles we like:

Fall Fleece Toddler Jackets

1. L.L.Bean. A little pricey at $44.95 but guaranteed to last from your first to fourth child, the Trail Model Fleece Hooded Jacket has a cute trim and contoured lines for added style (click here to get 50% off on all new to sale items plus free shipping).

2. Old Navy. The Heathered Fleece for $17 is slightly fitted and hits right at the waist. Pair with jogger sweats and wellies on rainy days.

3. H&M. This Fleece Jacket is too cute with its pattern of basketballs and skateboards. The fact that it's priced at $12.99 makes it even cooler.

4. Columbia. Available at Kohl's online for $21.99, the Flattop Mountain Fleece will keep your little one warm and comfortable.

September 29, 2016

A Bump in the Road | My Experience with Uterine Fibroids

My mother routinely uses the borrowed quote from Pulitzer Prize Award winning columnist Leonard Pitts, Jr."Clear the wreckage and wait for the next crisis."  Pitts used this headline in his editorial on the decision of the 2000 Presidential Election and my mother has since used the saying to help my sisters and I work through various life challenges, both big and small. When my gynecologist told me that my uterine fibroids could affect my ability to have children, I was scared, angry, and sad but what I remember the most is feeling very eager to get through the crisis. Learning about the condition and my treatment options indeed helped me to do so.

I was 29-years-old and just a year out of dental school when I was first diagnosed with fibroids. My ultrasound showed evidence of several small growths, but since I wasn't experiencing any symptoms and my husband and I were not engaged yet, my doctor decided to put me on a wait and see treatment plan. He explained that fibroids were benign tumors that grow on the uterus. He noted that they are influenced by estrogen and they are most prevalent in black women. Finally, he clarified that fibroids can cause symptoms of pain, heavy periods as well as discomfort and in many cases, can affect pregnancy and childbirth. Since I wasn't trying to have a baby at that time, I decided not to worry about my fibroids. 

Fast forward to three years later, I was married, employed full-time with a great healthcare benefits package, and ready for a baby but a few small bumps had become a huge roadblock. My fibroids had grown significantly and one in particular was growing in a position that my doctor feared would potentially threaten pregnancy. He recommended surgery without debate. Specifically, an abdominal myomectomy with a lengthy recovery and a six-month delay in child planning. 

Wow! It was a lot to digest but I wanted to know more than just the basics about this condition that had now become one of possible infertility. Did my mom have fibroids? Do any of my three sisters? The answer was, no. I felt alone. I was angry and bitter. I was frustrated with my delay in marriage and family planning. I pondered that had I not gone to dental school and perhaps gotten married and started my family earlier that I wouldn't be in this situation. A fertility problem fueled by estrogen? How was that possible? I felt compromised as a woman. 

My fibroids threatening my fertility put me in crisis mode. It was from speaking with family, friends, and experts in reproductive endocrinology, that I began to feel empowered. I gathered all the information and my husband and I followed the recommendations of our medical team. As my mother in law said at the time, "we'll pray and wait for good news." Two years later that news was delivered with the birth of our son. I am so fortunate to have had access to great medical treatment and the support of loved ones to help me get through the tough period. I was unaware of the myriad of different fertility conditions that can impact the lives of so many women and I am sharing this post to encourage women to seek information about their health and how to best navigate their family planning decisions.  

I leave you with a note on uterine fibroids from Dr. Eva Martin, the founder of Elm Tree Medical, a medical device company focused on women’s health. Eva has an extensive background in women’s health and clinical research. She graduated cum laude from Harvard College and earned her MD from Harvard Medical School. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Facts on Fibroid Incidence

Fibroids are most common between 40 to 60 years of age. Fibroids occur in about:

·         4% of women 20-30 years of age
·         15% of women 30-40 years of age
·         33% of women 40 to 60 years of age

Fibroids are more common in black women and tend to progress more quickly. Fibroids occur in about:

·         18% of black women
·         8% of white women
·         10% of Hispanic women

Questions for Your Doctor, for Women with Fibroids Trying to Conceive

What is the location and size of the fibroid(s)? These factors can help determine if the fibroid is affecting your ability to get pregnant. For instance, fibroids on the inner wall of the uterus are known to cause difficulty conceiving, but it is controversial whether fibroids on the outside of the uterus affect fertility at all.

What treatments might increase my chances of becoming pregnant? Surgery may increase the chances of becoming pregnant, depending on the specific characteristics of your fibroid(s).

Does the type of treatment or surgery I receive now for fibroids affect pregnancies in the future? Depending on the type of surgery, Cesarean delivery may be recommended for future pregnancies.

Primary Sources:
·         Lurie S, Piper I, Woliovitch I, Glezerman M. Age-related prevalence of sonographically confirmed uterine myomas. J ObstetGynaecol. 2005;25:42–4.
·         Laughlin SK, Baird DD, Savitz DA, Herring AH, Hartmann KE. Prevalence of uterine leiomyomas in the first trimester of pregnancy: an ultrasound-screening study. Obstet Gynecol. 2009;113(3):630–635.
·         Purohit P, Vigneswaran K. Fibroids and Infertility. CurrObstetGynecol Rep. 2016; 5: 81-88.
·         Casini ML, Rossi F, Agostini R, Unfer V. Effects of the position of fibroids on fertility.GynecolEndocrinol. 2006 Feb; 22(2):106-9.

September 28, 2016

Suspect Your Child Has an Eating Disorder? Ask Her Dentist

Eating Disorders and Healthy Choices
Over half a million teens struggle with eating disorders, most commonly anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.  According to new studies, eating disorders are the third most common chronic disease among adolescents, following obesity and asthma. The American Academy of Pediatrics has published new recommendations for Preventing Obesity and Eating Disorders. Rather than discussing weight loss with your child, they encourage parents to discuss healthy eating habits and exercise.

Eating disorders are serious physical and emotional problems and can have life-threatening consequences. They can also affect productivity and relationships. Dentists commonly witness evidence of eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia represented by specific patterns of tooth erosion, soft tissue changes on the lining of the oropharanx or throat from vomiting, as well as a characteristic sweet malodor from ketoacidosis, which can be associated with starvation.

Dentist Check-Up

It may be difficult to confront your child about a possible eating disorder. Due to the frequency of routine dental visits, children may see their family dentist more regularly than the pediatrician. If you suspect your child has an eating disorder, you may want to inquire with the dentist at her next visit.  

Eating disorders are all too common and can affect the entire family. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that families eat meals together to give parents the opportunity to demonstrate healthy choices and also to display positive body image. Busy schedules often keep us from traditional scheduled mealtimes. Food shopping with your child can provide an opportunity to discuss the nutritional benefits from healthy food choices.

Whether it's a school nurse, your family dentist, or your child's pediatrician, the healthcare community is your resource for general health and well being. To learn more about eating disorders, prevention, and treatment, visit the National Eating Disorders website.

September 25, 2016

Teaching Your Child a New Alphabet

We're on our way! Our three-year-old has officially turned the page from delivering one line urgent requests like "I want chocolate / Dai mi schoko!" (read about how our bilingual journey began) and has claimed the debate stage with well thought out responses and rebuttals. It still tickles me to hear him tell Daddy to stop eating his cookies in Serbian and then turn around and ask me for more cookies in English. So far, it's been a fun ride and now that he's good friends with the ABCs and we change gears towards actually learning how to read and write, it's time for me to really make use of as many visual and audio aids as possible to teach him the Cyrillic alphabet. Here's what we're working with:

1. Puzzles. From wooden crafts that make sounds to those that he nibbled on as a teething baby, puzzles from the Serbian brand PinoToys are great teaching tools. Similar to the popular Melissa & Doug alphabet puzzles, they provide images to help children with pronunciation. Attending an English speaking preschool has my son favoring the Latin alphabet so I'm really hoping that visiting again with some of his favorite toys from his first years helps him become more comfortable pairing Serbian sounds with the Cyrillic symbols.

2. Books. Vocabulary building is all about repetition. We're making use of our colorful Serbian Publik Praktikum baby picture books (that I just love) filled with everything from animals, fresh produce, and seasons of the year to all sorts of automotive and aviation vehicles.

3. Posters. Excellent visual materials to mount on walls and doors, posters are essential for early learning. They're helpful for me as well since I still haven't memorized the Serbian azbuka. Like my mom used to do with impressive images from old magazines, I laminate the DinoLingo vocabulary posters to use as placemats for mealtime learning.

4. Technology. It's all around us so we might as well make good use of the educational technology oozing out of our portable computer devices. Language apps designed for children are almost as popular as photo editing programs (read more about Apple-Babies and Toddler Techs). As you may recall from last year's post, I'm fanatic about DinoLingo and now they have an app for Mac and PC (get 20% off plus free shipping this weekend with coupon code: weekend20).

Do you have any tips for teaching your child a new alphabet? My little guy is still hovering over his Latin letters, but I told Daddy it's time to shift Cyrillic into high gear. I'll be sure to keep you posted on our alphabet progress.

September 23, 2016

3 Fun Things to do in Germany

Oktoberfest may be a good reason to visit Germany, but in between hopping through biergartens you should try to see the following attractions: 

1. Berlin. The museums and memorials of this capital city provide lasting lessons in history and culture. Must see attractions include East Side Gallery at The Berlin WallCheckpoint CharlieBrandenburg GateReichstagand Olympiastadion just to name a few.

2. Schwarzwald. Black forest cake, anyone? The waterfalls and trails of the forested mountain range make The Black Forest a site to see. A great place for souvenirs, you'll find hidden treasures like authentic German Coo Coo Clocks or detailed Bierkrugs.

3. Castles. Whether it's the touring the fairytale castle of Neuschwanstein or the Heidelberg Palace, one is easily enchanted by the tales of the families that guarded and ruled these breathtaking landmarks. There are countless more Deutschland wonders and hopefully this short list makes Germany your next travel destination.

September 22, 2016

How to Make an iMovie on iPhone

I've received a lot of questions about how I make my YouTube videos. First of all, thank you all for watching our product reviews! We're having so much fun making them and I hope that they offer you a little bit of encouragement to get your kiddos brushing and flossing. Second, I have to say that even though my sister is a documentary filmmaker (yes, she's got talent!), I had no idea how much went into producing even a thirty second commercial. Needless to say, I have a new appreciation for motion pictures. There's no secret that working with a toddler as your lead star requires patience but the truth is we only do a few takes and maximize the that rare hour of day of peak excitement with cooperation. As for the actual production, below are my iMovie steps from start to finish. 

1. Script. While freestyle is probably the most creative technique, when you're working with a toddler it does help to have a script that you can draw from at least to make sure you remember to hit certain bullet points. Even memorizing a short paragraph helps me keep my overall message in focus. I try to target at least three key points for each review.  

2. Camera. I haven't quite mastered all of the iPhone's magical film making capabilities. Once I do, I'll definitely share them on the blog. I'm finally getting comfortable making videos on my Canon EOS Rebel SL1. Using a Rode Mic makes all the difference in the world by eliminating the surrounding noise and background echo. When the natural light is good in the afternoon, I mount the camera on my tripod, aim at our vistaprint banner and "Action!"   

3. Film Transfer. Using my Canon instead of actually filming directly on my iPhone adds an extra step because I need to transfer the files from my camera to my iPhone. Given the large file size, I recommend using the free Google Drive app to manage the files. There they can be stored for easy retrieval on other computers and devices.

3. iMovie App. A free app that is literally sitting on your iPhone homescreen, iMovie is already there waiting for you to engage! Once you open it, you will be directed to start a new project. I should note that you can purchase the app for your desktop and it's definitely worth it to make great movies! One feature that I can only seem to do successfully on my Mac and not my iPhone is adding a watermark as a "picture in picture." This is a distinguishing feature of the movies I made on my phone versus those I made on my Mac. If you know how to add a watermark on iMovie for iPhone, please share your knowledge in the comment section below.
4. Start New Project. Once you hit the + icon, you will be prompted to choose between "Movie" or "Trailer". Both are fun and have different effects. I work mainly with Movie. From this point, you can upload movie footage from existing iMovies, your iPhone video library, or your accessible storage such as Google Drive.    

5. Edit Your Work. Now for the fun part! There is a little bit of a learning curve with all the editing options but the more you edit the more you learn. My recommendation is to jump in and test all the different style options. The iMovie saves automatically and there's even an undo icon for quick retakes so don't worry if you want to get back to your starting point. Cropping the image is very easy and done with your two fingers directly in the picture box. The other commands to split the film, cut and paste copies, and add text, background music or voiceover can be found on the lower menu bar. 

6. Upload. Once you've added your finishing touches, you can upload your iMovie directly to Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. You can also email the file and save a copy to your iPhone video library. If you have further questions, Apple Support is super helpful and the Apple Store offers free workshops on a large variety of topics to help you maximize your Apple experience. 

That's basically iMovie for iPhone in a nutshell!  Happy Filming!  

Watch Now: Oral-B Glide Pro-Health Deep Clean Floss Product Review

September 20, 2016

Is Your Child Getting Too Much Sugar?

Too Much Sugar
We all know that sugar gives us energy and that excessive sugar intake can have severe health consequences. However, understanding sugar limits can be challenging with the many added sugars that are widely available. This is of particular concern when it comes to our children. With obesity as the leading chronic disease among teens, the American Heart Association recently recommended new added sugar limits for children.
One way to monitor added sugar for kids is to restrict flavored beverages. According to the American Heart Association, a young child only needs 17 grams of sugar per day and the recommended sugar maximum is only 3 to 4 teaspoons per day. Below are approximate sugar contents of your child's favorite drink based on a 12 ounce serving:

  • Apple Juice 39 grams
  • Coca Cola 40 grams
  • Gatorade 21 grams 
  • Orange Juice 33 grams
  • Red Bull 34 grams

High Sugar Beverages
Water is the recommended alternative to sweetened drinks and beverages labeled as low sugar are also encouraged. Always read labels carefully and if you're finding it difficult to completely deny your child his favorite beverage, dilute with water. Toothbrushing and other oral care habits can help lower dental cavity risk from sugar but efforts to reduce high sugar intake is most effective at maintaining good overall health. Be sure to discuss healthy eating habits with your children and raise any concerns with your healthcare providers. 

September 18, 2016

Fun Things for Kids to do in DC | US Botanic Garden

US Botanic Garden
These first couple of weeks back to school have been a bit trying for my little guy. A new teacher, a mandatory uniform, and new classroom rules have him dragging his feet in the morning. On Friday, realizing that my regular bag of tricks wasn't getting us any closer to the door, I bribed my three year-old to get dressed with a promise to take him to see the bugs at the Botanic Garden. "Bugs! I want to see the bugs!" He cheered all the way to school.
US Botanic Garden
Butterflies, bees, ants, and spiders aren't the only reasons to visit the United States Botanic Garden. Free admission and the many special events and programs are just a few more. Plus, its adjacent location to the US Capitol makes it easily accessible by car and public transportation.
US Botanic Garden
Of course, the outdoor Children's Garden is our favorite exhibit. Perfect for late summer, a visit to the colorful garden sparks imagination and an opportunity for hands on learning. Designed for children to explore the plants and how to care for them, the space has gardening tools and allows kids to water the plants.
Hibiscus Plant
The different collections of the Conservatory will brighten up your day. Leaving the watering garden led to a mini-meltdown, but it was luckily short-lived once we entered the Tropics and became captivated by the beauty of the Hibiscus.
US Botanic Garden
The domed rainforest is a feature in itself and was fun to tour as we learned about the different characteristics and origins of the many jungle plants from far away places like Brazil and Madagascar.   
US Botanic Garden
We did manage to find a few bugs but our day out with nature also gave us enthusiasm to get back to the classroom. Are you interested in taking your child to see the Botanic Garden? Click here for more information.

September 16, 2016

Married to the Balkans

Like many young women, I grew up thinking I would marry someone just like my father. My dad is smart, kind, and hard working. He has a great sense of humor and gives the best insight and advice on any topic from how to choose a college major to how to break-up with a bad boyfriend. My dad has always been my advocate, my counsel, my friend, my hero. So, naturally I thought my Mr. Right was going to be just like him and I spent many years waiting for him to arrive on my doorstep. What I didn't realize was that my destiny was to be as authentic as my own life experience and that my future husband was also trailing his own journey and would be waiting for me perhaps not so close to home, but at an unspecified crossroad just over the sunset.

In grade school, I crushed on the boy who lived across the street. In high school, I went to my senior prom with my lab benchmate from AP Biology and for too many years later I dated the textbook equivalents of my father. After one of several failed relationships, I was sitting around feeling sad and called my parents. 

After debriefing them on how the guy I'd gushed about at Christmas dinner had decided that marriage was not on his agenda, my father boldly said to me, "If you are unhappy, it's your own fault! You are a smart girl and you should know better than to keep looking for something that doesn't make sense. I don't understand how you can learn anatomy and pathology but you can't see when a man cares nothing for you! Why don't you start focusing on yourself and your own goals. Then you'll meet the right person who will respect you for it!" I was shocked to hear my father say these harsh words. They angered me and made me mad at him for not crediting me for trying to find someone who I thought was just like him, even if only in theory. Then, I realized that all those years I'd spent campaigning for this ideal was actually a trivial pursuit for a person that wasn't even real---someone I'd invented in my head who shared only certain characteristics of my father.

It took a few weeks for me to get over my own ego and stubbornness, but I slowly applied my father's advice. I immersed myself into my practice of dentistry, started building friendships with people who had similar passions, and soon enough I found myself out on dates with super interesting people. It's perhaps unsurprising that I met my husband in an international city like Washington, DC. However, when I think about it, it's not by accident that I met someone who after overcoming many challenges journeyed far away from home and took a chance to make a better life for himself.

My mother is a bilingual expert in Spanish and English, who teaches students that have immigrated to the United States from other countries. She has always graciously extended her duty beyond the walls of her classroom. Growing up, our family hosted students from Nicaragua, Korea, and Liberia. We lived abroad in Japan when my mother participated in a teacher exchange program. My experiences and regard for cross-cultural relations inspired me to major in International Affairs in college and infuse my value for my husband's journey from a land rich in culture and spirit yet marred by the divisions of war and history. 

On our first date, I queried my husband about his homeland. I knew very little about the Balkans or Serbia, outside of the tragedies highlighted by our media. My husband enlightened me about stories of his childhood before, during, and after battles over religion and politics. His spirit was moving, his accent was distinct, his visions were memorable, and most importantly---he asked me out for a second date even before our first had ended. In the decade since we first met, my husband has motivated and supported all of my dreams and not only as a good and decent man very much like my father but as an amazing life partner and father to our child. 

Our life on the surface is far from ideal and in between the rich thick layers, it's more fascinating than I could have ever imagined. We have been fortunate to maintain a very international lifestyle, living abroad in Germany and routinely traveling across the seas of the Mediterranean and Adriatic. The food, music, and culture of our experience is blended like the years of my childhood and the visions of my own ancestors because we are not intimidated by the greatness of what we can be beyond our own expectations and even our wildest dreams.  

September 13, 2016

How to Pay Off Student Loans

I spent almost a decade in school learning to become a healthcare professional but I have to admit I learned very little about personal finance. Like most dental students, I thought my profession would be recession proof but didn't realize that the high tuition loans would haunt me many years later. It's no secret that the cost of higher education is going to continue to rise and I wish I knew then what I know now about income versus cost of living. Anyways, I had to start somewhere. Here are five things that have helped me pay off almost a quarter of a million dollars of educational debt. (Yes, it really cost that much!)

1. Live Below Your Means. Yeah, I know---it sucks and feels almost unfair. You worked so hard to become a professional and now you have to sleep on your parents couch and eat beans out of a can. Well, not exactly. Recycling and reusing all kinds of goods is an excellent way to decrease your out of pocket expenses. Buy a used car instead of that super shiny one you fantasized over while studying for boards. Graciously take those baby clothes offered from friends and family. Lots of baby clothes aren't even worn more than once and can actually save you time and clutter when you continue the process and pass them along to others. Commute to work via public transportation. Sure, it takes me an extra twenty minutes but my commute has proved to be my alone time to read and think! Another way to save is to dine in. One of my favorite pastimes is eating out with girlfriends, but with motherhoood and exhaustion, staying in is actually more convenient. Food shopping and preparing meals at homes is not only more economical but healthier for the entire family.

2. Find a Loan Repayment Scholarship. Working in public health is not only an excellent opportunity to help the underserved but may also offer a chance to pursue loan repayment through a federal agency such as Indian Health Service or National Health Service Corp. By serving in a community with a shortage of healthcare providers, you may be eligible to receive a scholarship in exchange for your service commitment. There's nothing like a large lump sum to put towards your student loan balance. Another option for loan forgiveness is to work for certain federal agencies or non-profit programs that participate with the Public Health Loan Forgiveness Program, which can also alleviate significant student debt.

3. Pay More than the Recommended Minimum. Increasing the value of your payments by even a small margin can have a great impact on the life of a student loan. One of the burdens associated with outstanding student loans is the ever compounding interest. Some loans have fixed interest rates and payment timelines while others may have variable conditions for the loan terms. Contact your lender and inquire about changing your payment amounts and possibly even consolidating them to help reduce your burden even more. For a long time, I was intimidated by the actual borrowed value of my student loans but understanding the interest terms and how to manage the growth of the loans helped empower me to get a handle on them.

4. Find Alternative Income. Moonlighting, tutoring, real estate, blogging. All of the above are ways to get some extra money in your pocket, which can be applied to your student loans. It takes some extra time and often creativity but with social media and other forms of technology, the world really is your oyster. Think outside the box and you may just find yourself in a new and even more fascinating career.

5. Stay Focused. Your peers may appear to reach their financial goals before you but you'll be debt-free. Try not to feel defeated and stay focused on your own accomplishments. Remember, we'll all get to the finish line! Along the way, download one of the many fun apps like the one from or a loan repayment calculator to help you stay motivated. Similar to the pursuit of your degree, when it comes to paying off the student debt there will probably be times when you'll feel overwhelmed, angry, or frustrated. Just remember, you'll eventually get that balance down to zero and when you do it's gonna feel so good!

September 11, 2016

Simple Ideas for Baby Nursery Decor

It seems like yesterday when my husband and I were in baby prep mode! Preparing for a new bundle was an exciting but stressful time. Waddling around in the middle of a snowy German winter wasn't easy (read more about how I worked up until my due date) but at the same time I can't remember feeling so joyfully excited! I probably hadn't felt that kind of excitement since I was a little kid---a kid on Christmas Eve.

I read books, magazines, blogs, and took recommendations from mothers, aunts, and friends. Yet, there really wasn't any perfect advice for how to prepare for a baby. When it came to decorating the nursery, I was all over the place. Once I ordered a safe and sturdy crib, I couldn't figure out what to place on the walls and what types of images would be stimulating but at the same time calming for the baby.
I had never really done any interior design or taken art classes for that matter, but back in college I babysat for a super creative mother. I really admired the safari theme that she applied to her son's nursery and brought into play for his first birthday party. When I started scrolling through images online, I found a wide selection of choices by the Lambs and Ivy company.

From butterflies and owls, cars and planes, to Snoopy and Hello Kitty, there are plenty of options to spark your Mommy design eye. Not only do they offer a huge variety of themes and colors, but so many ways to mix and match bedding, window treatments, wall decor, and accessories. I combined quilt and crib sheets from the All-Star collection with Safari wall art and wall applique from the Safari Express designs. Decorating your baby nursery is a fun time and one you'll cherish like the place it fills with many memories. What type of nursery theme do you have in mind?

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September 8, 2016

Why You Should Be Wearing Your Nightguard

Dental Nightguard
Bruxism also known as teeth grinding and clenching is quite common among adults. Typically, we clench during moments of stress such as sudden traffic stops or bench pressing at the gym. However, grinding our teeth for long periods of time like overnight when we sleep can actually damage our teeth, muscles, and joints. A nightguard can help to relieve bruxism, not only by preventing your teeth from coming together but also relaxing your muscles as you rest so that they are less likely to tense during the day.

Dental Nightguard
Nightguards are typically designed with a soft inner lining that rests comfortably against teeth and gums and a hard more durable outer layer that protects your teeth. They can be customized by a dental laboratory or purchased over the counter and molded at home. Headaches and tooth sensitivity are common signs of bruxism. However, grinding may also be linked to breathing problems or another medical condition. Be sure to discuss any concerns about bruxism with your dentist or physician.

September 6, 2016

Mommy's Favorite Toothpaste

Patients often ask me to name my favorite toothpaste. Here it is...Colgate Cavity Protection Toothpaste. I’ve used this toothpaste for years and it’s one that I recommend for the entire family. Very simply: it fights cavities, protects your teeth, cleans away decay causing bacteria, and keeps your breath fresh. Always read labels and use as directed.  

September 4, 2016

Simple Beauty Tricks for a Brighter Smile

One of the most common dental concerns that I hear from patients is the desire for a brighter smile. There are over 40 different tooth shades and hue is just one of several factors (read more about tooth structure) contributing to tooth brightness. Cosmetic dental procedures designed to enhance your smile include dental bonding, porcelain veneers, and teeth bleaching. Office dental bleaching is definitely the most effective but also expensive. Home bleaching kits may be more affordable but require time for application. Below are a few simple beauty tips that can instantly brighten your smile.

Lip Color. Bright bold colors tend to make teeth appear whiter. However, reds and oranges bring out the yellow undertones in our teeth. Metallics as well as glosses tend to scatter light away from your smile. Try a bubble gum pink and balance as needed. MAC Bombshell Frost is one of my favorites. 

Hair. How we style our hair also contributes to how our smiles are received. Our smiles are most noticeable when our hair is swept away from our faces. Curls can make teeth appear smaller and dark hair colors tend to make our teeth appear lighter.

Wardrobe. Neutrals, creams, and white colored clothing often dim our smiles. Bright colors help to enhance our smiles. They make us feel happier and mood has been proven to increase our desire to smile more. Generally, blue is a calming color and in many cultures yellow is symbolic of happiness. 

Lighting. Natural light is the best companion when taking an accurate assessment of tooth shade. The fluorescent lights illuminating most office spaces tend to make our teeth appear dull and gray. When considering your smile, my suggestion for patients is not to compare the whiteness of your teeth to that of the sclera of your eye. The tissues are very different and if our teeth are too close in brightness, it can actually distract observers. 

Smiles are all unique and their shade, shape, and frequency help give us character. Smiling has also been proven to reduce stress. In the best case try to smile more! If you are concerned about intrinsic dental stains, consult your dentist about options to help you reach your smile goals.

September 2, 2016

Defining Your Mommy Style

What came first, the chicken or the egg? I must admit, I've always been more sporty than posh. I swam competitively for ten years as a child, which meant wet hair and chlorine scented clothes. Swimming before and after school was tough but it taught me so many important life lessons. It helped me learn how to balance heavy loads of schoolwork with a full set of extracurricular activities and it even gave me international exposure to athletic culture in Japan and Sweden.

From early childhood, my parents sacrificed to give me and my sisters lessons in tennis and dance as well as swimming and all memories of our family vacations are highlighted by six bicycles mounted on top of our station wagon. Athletics have always been a large part of my lifestyle and is a pastime that I enjoy with my husband, who played basketball professionally in Europe. As we introduce our son to organized sports (read about our experience with toddler soccer), I am finding that a sporty style fits well with my mommy schedule.

As soon as he wakes up, my little guy is ready to play! Whether we're at the playground or running errands, mommy duty keeps me on my toes. When it comes to comfortable and stylish footwear, I am a huge fan of the Asics Onitsuka Tiger line. They come in a wide selection of colors and are easy to pair with khakis, simple solid colored sundresses, or sporty chic tracksuits. Some of my favorite brands are Hummel and Ellesse, which I always stock up on when we travel to the Balkans.

Defining my mommy style has been sort of like spicing up a favorite recipe and like most good dishes, there's always room for a dash of inspiration. What's your mommy style?

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