Holistic Happenings in Orthodontics!
In Harmony Orthodontics - Dr. Catherine Murphy, DDS, MSD
This month’s topics:
- Dr. Cathy Goes Back to IUN
- Connections Book Club Puts Best Face Forward
- Health Tip: Join in Global Airway Health Day
- October is National Orthodontic and Bullying Prevention Month
- What is a Nurdle?
- Spotlight on Myo: Orthodontics and Myofunctional Therapy with Joy Lantz, RDH, COM
- Tooth Time Tip: Baby Meets Cup!
Dr. Cathy Goes Back to IUN
School is Back in Session
It has been awhile since I’ve been to Indiana University Northwest as an adjunct faculty member due to marriage, new baby, new office, and another new baby! However, when called to help out, I eagerly agreed.
Due to the closure caused by COVID, the IUN hygiene clinic is now open from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Yikes! That means that for a few weeks, our office schedule may be a bit limited but we are doing our best to balance it out. The students are working hard to make up for lost clinic time.
I hope you and yours are adjusting to whatever school and work situations you are now facing. We will get through this and be stronger because of it!
Connections Book Club Puts Best Face Forward
As with many things, Connections Book Club and its meetings have been affected by the pandemic.
However, that didn’t stop us for long. A brief conversation with Bre Grzych (acupuncturist & massage therapist) in late August about how we missed our meetings led to an impromptu discussion on 9.18.20 OUTSIDE!
Topic: Face Yoga!
A small group gathered to discuss the importance of muscle work, relaxation, and daily affirmations.
Book: Danielle Collins' Face Yoga
Interested in learning more about Face Yoga and overall wellness? Join my Facebook Group, Connections Made in Harmony!
Stay tuned! We will be offering a free week of our "Taking 3 for Me" sessions soon.
Learn more about face yoga from world leading face yoga expert and best selling author Danielle Collins: https://faceyogaexpert.com/
Join in Global Airway Health Day!
Quiz: Who is the front man for the rock band Journey?
Answer: It’s Arnel Pineda and he is speaking out about the importance of good airway health!
Check out https://globalo2day.org/category/news/ for news about him and other stars who are helping to raise awareness!
Global Airway Health Day 02 day – 10.2.20
“Air is the way. How you breathe is how you live.” Get your free ticket to the 12 hour WORLDWIDE event – Breathe-A-Thon!
How will I be honoring Global Airway Health Day?
I'll be speaking to the Dental Assisting class of 2021 about my holistic airway-focused approach to orthodontics. I will also be attending the Breathe-A-Thon. Hope you’ll join me for this fun worldwide event.
October is National Orthodontic Month
National Bullying Prevention Month
Did you know that 7 in 10 Americans admit to feeling self-conscious about their teeth? Additionally, 57% of Americans cover their mouth when they laugh because they are insecure about how their teeth look.
Read the full article from the New York Post here: https://nypost.com/2019/01/24/more-than-half-of-americans-feel-insecure-about-their-teeth/
For the second year, the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) will observe National Bullying Prevention Month in October as a significant part of the celebration of National Orthodontic Health Month.
The AAO 2020 observance is #bullyingbites and helps support Stand for the Silent. The anti-bullying organization provides educational assembly programs at schools nationwide. Learn how you can help by visiting https://standforthesilent.org/
Take the pledge to Stand for the Silent and be the helping hand that leads another back to the path of hope and aspiration. Visit
The article titled “Impact of bullying due to dentofacial features on oral health–related quality of life” from the December 2014 issue of American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics is available here: https://www.ajodo.org/article/S0889-5406(14)00783-5/pdf
What is a Nurdle?
I learned what a nurdle is this weekend while I was at the Mermaid Straw Beach Cleanup.
Nurdle: a tiny pellet of plastic which serves as raw material in the manufacture of plastic.
How did I learn this while at the beach? After my son showed me the trash he had cleaned up, I mentioned to Lisa that a toy must have broken because we kept finding tiny plastic “pearls.”
Nope. Lisa (Founder of Mermaid Straw) explained that these were nurdles. I did some research and found these startling facts:
- Nurdles are used for most plastic products from plastic straws to car parts.
- Nurdles are known to fall off ships and into waterways.
- Researchers estimate that 743 million nurdles fell into the Mississippi River Aug 2.
- Birds and small fish easily mistake these for food. The plastic can get lodged in the bird’s stomach causing malnutrition. Then if that bird or fish is eaten by a bird of prey, that plastic goes up the food chain. ☹️
When I explained this to my 4 year old son, his response was “That’s so sad.” We agreed to be super heroes for the beach.
Plastic is part of our daily lives. However if we start to:
- Reduce our dependency on it
- Take daily small steps to end single use plastic
- Pick up litter on the beach or anywhere
- Teach children these habits from the start
We WILL make an impact!
Each step in the right direction helps the world we all share.
🧜♀️ Mermaid Straw has a great mission and I've been so supportive of this small, local company that I've become an ambassador for them!
What does that me to you? Well...want a 15% discount on your next Mermaid Straw purchase? 🥤
Follow this link or visit my IG page bio for the link, then use code: dr_cathy_
Save your teeth AND save the planet AND save money!
Spotlight on Myo
Myo and Ortho Part 3
By Joy Lantz, RDH, COM®
Recap: Myofunctional therapy and orthodontic treatment work hand in hand. Orthodontic treatment focuses on moving teeth and myofunctional therapy works on strengthening and teaching/retraining muscles.
The three main goals of myofunctional therapy:
- Lips closed with nasal breathing.
- Tongue resting in the palate (roof of mouth).
- Proper swallowing.
As we end our series, we will focus on the final goal of myofunctional therapy, proper swallowing. This goal is the natural final step after mastering our first two goals of lips closed with nasal breathing and proper rest posture.
By correcting the swallowing pattern and retraining the tongue to stay on the palate while swallowing, this can help stabilize the orthodontic work being completed.
Who even thinks about swallowing and how they do it?! Swallowing is considered a complex involuntary reflex. While swallowing happens when you eat or drink, it also happens with just the saliva present in your mouth. Swallowing actually happens hundreds of times a day! It isn’t something that is really thought about much. Do you think about how you actually swallow? Likely not, it’s just something you do almost automatically.
However, think about it now! When you swallow, where do you feel your tongue’s position? The correct positioning for your tongue while swallowing is for the tip to be on the palate behind the upper front teeth. The tongue then moves in an up and down pattern, moving saliva, food or drink towards the throat.
Incorrect swallowing can happen for many reasons. It can be due to a structural issue, such as a tongue tie, or more of a habitual problem. These issues will restrict the tongue from reaching the palate to swallow. When the tongue cannot reach the palate to properly swallow, it tends to push forward against your teeth and is referred to as a tongue thrust swallow. Tongue thrusting can negatively affect the jaw and teeth.
Tongue thrusting can result in orthodontic issues, such as an open bite of the teeth. This is where the front or side teeth do not touch even when the back teeth are touching. It can also tend to recruit other muscles to “help” with the swallow such as lips, chin or cheeks. This can lead to incorrect muscle compensations that can become habitual patterns. These patterns can lead to changes in oral growth and development.
While there are these goals we discussed over this series, there are many other things your myofunctional therapist may focus on.
Myofunctional therapy is a very individualized therapy dependent on what kind of things are discovered through a full examination and assessment of the patient.
Teaching patients how muscles of the mouth, cheeks, and tongue work properly can make a big difference in how long ortho treatment is and how successful it is. Improper muscle usage in your mouth and surrounding areas can actually undo all the work that was done during ortho treatment. The ultimate goal of both treatments is for stability and sustainability of structure and function of the teeth and muscles.
About Joy Lantz
Joy Lantz is a registered dental hygienist and a board certified orofacial myologist.
She is the founder and owner at Oral Function Specialties in Tinley Park & Palos Heights, IL. She received her AAS degree in dental hygiene in 1998 at Prairie State College. Joy was trained in orofacial myofunctional therapy in 2016. She received her COM certification in 2017 and is a member of the IAOM. She is an organized and innovative professional.
Joy is known for her collaborative approach to working with patients and other professionals to facilitate a predictable outcome of exceptional results. More information can be found by visiting OralFunctionSpecialties.com.
Joy Lantz, RDH, COM®
IAOM Board Certified Orofacial Myologist
IAOM Board of Directors Representative
Tooth Time Tip
Perinatal Oral Health with Dr. Tammy Button, DDS, MSD, MA
Baby meets cup!
New transitions always seem to come so quickly in the life of an infant, and the introduction of a cup is no exception. One very important thing to remember when introducing the cup is that it is going to be a journey – not just a quick introduction and done. The time you spend with your infant working with a cup will help to develop fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination, as well as promote proper tongue and lip postures. The American Academy of Pediatrics and The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry both recommend first introducing a cup around six months of age, and weaning from the bottle between 12 and 18 months of age. Here are some suggestions:
Using an open cup instead of any other type of closed cup promotes proper lip and tongue placement for the movement of liquid to the back of the mouth. Since you are using it only at mealtimes, you can watch your baby’s progression with this skill. If you have any concerns, always bring them to the attention of your pediatrician who may suggest occupational or physical therapy depending on the issue.
- Consider introducing an open cup first. This can be done at meal times only, which is a controlled environment. Developmentally, a baby can start to have sips of liquid (water, breast milk, or formula only!) from an open cup held by an adult at around six months of age, or around the time a baby is also ready for solid foods. I personally used the EzPz tiny cup – (https://ezpzfun.com/products/tiny-cup. I do not have any ties to this company – I just really love this cup!) The cup is infant-sized: it only holds 2 ounces of water and is weighted on the bottom to help keep the cup upright while little hands are exploring. The lip of the cup is super soft and an appropriate thickness for little lips and mouths.
- Once you feel as though your infant has a pretty good grasp on drinking from an open cup, you can introduce a closed cup with a straw. Drinking from a straw helps with facial muscle development in infants. Once you have introduced a straw cup, you can begin to offer water in between meals.
A good straw cup is spill resistant so you don’t have to worry about spills! Remember, a cup of any kind is not to have anything but water in between meals. Juice, milk, and flavored waters sipped on throughout the day are a leading cause of tooth decay in toddlers. So start from the beginning with only adding water to the in between meal cup so your infant expects only water. Once you start with anything besides water, you have introduced choice which can always lead to a fight! So skip the drama for many reasons and just go with water only!
When considering which straw cup to buy, make sure you choose one that all the parts are easily cleaned, and dishwasher safe for the sanitizing cycle. I personally used this Munchkin cup – again I have no ties to the company but I really love this straw cup! https://www.munchkin.com/click-lock-weighted-flexi-straw-cup-7oz.html\
If you have any questions please contact me. The transition to cups from bottles and breast is a major one, and there is no shortage of products being promoted that can easily confuse parents. And as I mentioned, if you have any concerns about your baby’s ability to drink from a cup, always talk with your pediatrician about your concerns.
About Dr. Tammy Gierke Button DDS, MSD, MA
Executive Director, Southshore Skipping Stones
Perinatal Oral Health Education Consultant
Dr. Button has been a pediatric dentist for over 13 years. She founded and directs Southshore Skipping Stones which is a prenatal and infant oral health education foundation. Dr. Button focuses her professional expertise on the perinatal time which is during pregnancy and the first months after a baby’s birth. This time is of great importance because of the impact mom’s oral health has on her overall health, the health of her pregnancy, and the oral health of her baby.
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