Holistic Happenings in Orthodontics!
In Harmony Orthodontics - Dr. Catherine Murphy, DDS, MSD
This month’s topics:
- Face Yoga
- Health Tip
- August is Breastfeeding Awareness Month
- Spotlight on Myo: Orthodontics and Myofunctional Therapy with Joy Lantz, RDH, COM
- Tooth Time Tip: Fact or Fiction? Pregnancy Weakens Teeth. Perinatal Oral Health with Dr. Tammy Button, DDS, MSD, MA
- Insights from an IBCLC, Diane Gora, RN, IBCLC
Want to look younger without fillers or surgery?
Have you heard of face yoga? It is a series of exercises that can stimulate the muscles, tighten the skin and reduce signs of aging when done properly and repetitively.
Learn more about face yoga from world leading face yoga expert and best selling author Danielle Collins: https://faceyogaexpert.com/
Wait to brush your teeth. Yes, a dentist is saying wait! Wait at least 30 minutes after drinking or eating acidic foods.
Acidic drinks and foods weaken the enamel. Toothpaste is an abrasive.
Brushing an abrasive on weakened enamel can cause further damage.
Want other options?
- Swish around vigorously with water and spit. This will help to remove any larger pieces of food remaining.
- Grab a stick of sugar free gum (if you are now braces free!) and chew for 5 minutes. It increases saliva which helps to restore the enamel and the pH level.
- Eat some sunflower seeds. They are very basic (alkaline) and will help to even out the pH level.
Additionally, remember these tips if you get sick, especially if experiencing morning sickness. Please wait to brush.
August is Breastfeeding Awareness Month
On August 6, 2011, the United States Breast Feeding Committee officially declared that August is National Breastfeeding Month. While 83 percent of U.S. infants receive breast milk at birth, only 25 percent are still exclusively breastfed at six months of age. (stat from CBC)
When discussing breastfeeding, there are often many layers to the conversation. It seems the term has had many new strings attached to it. Labeling breastfeeding as a choice may actually discourage the mother.
Rather, breastfeeding is one option for feeding baby.
Breastfeeding is an option that:
- If the mom wants to pursue it, should be reinforced by her healthcare providers
- If the mom wants to pursue it, should be aided by her support system
- If it isn’t going well, help should be encouraged rather than focusing only on trying options
- Should be understood from the nutritional, emotional, growth and development aspect
- Can be used along with other options as well
Admittedly, I attached shame to my inability to fully feed my first child by breastfeeding. When he didn’t thrive, the option to breastfeed was usurped by the pediatrician telling me, “He cannot leave the office until he finishes this bottle.” I left with a bag full of formula samples and a deep feeling of failure.
Being a bit stubborn despite my sleepiness, I got help from an IBCLC (lactation consultant) and continued the breastfeeding, pumping and formula options. To be transparent, I don’t know where this tenacity truly stemmed from, but it was what I wanted to do. I knew there were more options than what the pediatrician had the time and training to share with me. Perhaps it was because I had made the decisions for my own health previously that in hindsight were not what I truly wanted and was too timid to seek out the underlying reason for the symptom.
At the time, I had not put all the pieces of puzzle together that the inability to nurse was a symptom of underlying causes. Thankfully with my daughter, I had assembled a team of healthcare providers to help from the start. I understand this takes time and resources that are not available to everyone. Thus, I dedicated space the Jan - June 2020 newsletters for each provider I needed to be successful in nursing to contribute & explain their role in hopes of helping the next momma.
My wish is that my daughter’s generation does not need to have breastfeeding awareness. I hope that this option is given the time, attention and education that mom and baby deserve without mom shaming or hiding in a corner to nurse.
To learn more about breastfeeding awareness, check out here
Spotlight on Myo
Myo and Ortho Part 2
By Joy Lantz, RDH, COM®
As we discussed in the last newsletter, myofunctional therapy and orthodontic treatment work hand in hand. Orthodontic treatment places focuses on moving teeth and myofunctional therapy works on strengthening and training muscles.
There are three general goals with myofunctional therapy:
1. Lips closed with nasal breathing
2. Proper oral rest posture - tongue resting in the palate (roof of the mouth)
3. Proper swallowing
This month the focus is on the 2nd goal: proper oral rest posture.
Proper oral rest posture = tongue resting on the roof of mouth.
Proper oral rest posture = what your mouth and tongue are doing when you are not eating, drinking or talking.
Correct oral rest posture includes lips together, breathing through the nose, teeth slightly apart and the tongue resting up on the palate (roof of the mouth).
When you have good rest posture, this means your entire tongue is rested up in the palate, or the roof of the mouth, which is part of your upper jaw.
Tongue placement is very important to the growth of the upper and lower jaw. If the tongue is in the roof of the mouth at rest, it helps to guide proper development of the upper jaw!
The tongue encourages the palate to form into a “U” shape. The palate is the roof of the mouth but it is also the floor of the nasal cavity. A nice wide palate helps to ensure more room in the nasal cavity for better nasal breathing.
Some patients we see as orofacial myologists have their tongue resting low, usually on the floor of the mouth.
Tongue resting low, on floor of mouth can cause many different issues such as:
- Prevents good development of the jaw. If the tongue doesn’t support the palate while it is forming, the pressure from the cheeks can push the upper jaw inward. This can result in a high and narrow shape to the roof of the mouth.
- With a “V” shaped palate, there is less room for teeth to grow and they cannot properly align. This results in crooked teeth. There is also no room for the tongue to rest where it should.
- A high palate affects the nasal cavity. The high palate is now the floor of the nasal cavity. A high and narrow palate can crowd the space in the nasal cavity. This can create problems with nasal breathing and lead to the patient mouth breathing.
Seeing that most of the time your mouth is at rest, proper resting posture of these muscles is important. It can become crucial when children are young and still growing.
When good habits are taught and practiced early, it can lead to ideal growth and development such as:
- Wide open airways
- Healthy jaw development
- Healthy sinus development
- Optimal facial growth
If these issues are discovered later, help is still available! Orthodontists and orofacial myologists can work together to help correct them. We collaborate for the best treatment for each individual patients’ needs. The orthodontist works on finding underlying issues for improved health as well as aligning the teeth and the orofacial myologist handles retraining the muscles to work and rest the proper way.
The ultimate goal of both therapies is stability and sustainability of structure and function of the teeth and muscles for a smile that is beyond just straighter teeth.
About Joy Lantz, RDH, COM®
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
Joy Lantz, RDH, COM®
IAOM Board Certified Orofacial Myologist
IAOM Board of Directors Representative
Tooth Time Tip
Fact or Fiction? Pregnancy Weakens Teeth
Perinatal Oral Health with Dr. Tammy Button, DDS, MSD, MA
Pregnancy is a time of countless changes for a woman’s body. It is so important to decide upon a reliable source to answer your questions, such as your doctor and their staff. Many doctors will also recommend websites and books that are “approved sources” for those late-night questions that can’t wait until the office opens!
When it comes to oral health during pregnancy, there is a no shortage of misinformation. Utilizing information provided by The American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, we will explore the most common myth associated with pregnancy and oral health.
Myth #1: Pregnancy weakens mom’s teeth by removing calcium for the developing baby.
There is no known mechanism by which calcium is removed from teeth and redistributed to your baby during pregnancy.
However, there are many different factors to consider when it comes to changes in your oral heath during pregnancy.
Hormonal changes: It is no secret that hormonal changes occur during pregnancy. These hormonal changes can affect your immune system’s response to bacterial plaque.
Plaque is the biofilm that attaches to teeth and should be removed by daily brushing. The bacteria in plaque produce acids, and when left on the surface of a tooth for too long can start to cause mineral loss (such as calcium), which can then lead to tooth decay.
The minerals that are lost from the tooth are not removed for the purpose of providing it to the developing baby – this is the same process that happens when plaque sits on a tooth in someone who is not pregnant.
The bacterial plaque can also cause gingivitis, which is inflammation of the gums. It can also cause bleeding of the gums. Many women experience pregnancy gingivitis.
What can you do to prevent mineral loss and pregnancy gingivitis? Brush and floss your teeth twice a day and use an alcohol-free mouth rinse before bed. Regular checkups and cleanings with your dentist are also safe and encouraged to further help with pregnancy oral health.
Dietary changes: Many women find themselves eating more frequently during pregnancy and gravitating towards sweets.
If you eat more frequent meals that include processed sugars, or drink acidic drinks such as juices, sodas, or citrus-sweetened waters, you are creating an acidic environment in your mouth.
When your mouth is acidic, your enamel is vulnerable to breakdown, including calcium and mineral loss that can lead to tooth decay over time.
Again, the minerals that are lost from the tooth are not removed for the purpose of providing it to the developing baby – this is the same process that occurs when the mentioned foods are eaten frequently by someone who is not pregnant.
What can you do to prevent breakdown of your enamel due to frequent sugary/acidic drinks? Pay attention to how frequently you are eating sugar/acid sources and try to replace them with a whole food alternative that is healthy for your mouth, for your pregnancy, and your baby. Eating cheese after a snack helps to neutralize your mouth and provides extra calcium as well. Try to drink as much plain water as possible. Water is still the most efficient source of hydration for mom and baby.
Frequent vomiting: If you are experiencing bouts of frequent vomiting, it is important to make sure your mouth gets neutralized before you try and brush your teeth or eat anything that might create more acids in your mouth.
This is important because if you try and brush your teeth when your mouth is acidic, you can brush away enamel, which means calcium and other minerals. And, again, this is the same process that happens when someone who is not pregnant vomits frequently. Try to neutralize your mouth by swishing with water and a teaspoon of dissolved baking soda. Wait one hour after rinsing to brush your teeth. This will help protect your enamel.
New medications: One frequent OTC medication many women add during pregnancy is antacids due to heartburn or acid reflux.
One of the first inactive ingredients listed on most antacids is sugar. If you are frequently chewing antacids it is important to swish with plain water afterwards to rinse away any of the left over antacid. If you leave the residual pieces in your mouth, they will dissolve on your teeth, which is a food source for the bacteria that make the acidic plaque that can lead to mineral loss and tooth decay.
It is easy to see why so many people believe pregnancy can weaken teeth and cause tooth decay and broken-down teeth. Once you know what exactly is going on, it is easier to prevent the tooth decay and broken-down teeth by considering the four different scenarios above. If you are questioning the safety of going to the dentist during pregnancy, you can talk to your doctor about it.
The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology have practice guidelines and even a form to take to your dentist with any information that is important for the dentist to know about your pregnancy. Some OB’s even provide their patients with information on the safety and importance of visiting the dentist. I was fortunate that on my first pregnancy visit to my OB, she provided me with this information not even knowing I was a dentist! I was very impressed.
For more information, visit Dr. Button's website:
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.
New series: Insights from an IBCLC
Keeping Abreast: Breastfeeding Awareness 2020
By Diane Gora, RN, IBCLC
While it seems that most people are aware of the benefits of breastfeeding, the United States, ranked 26th, has one of the lowest breastfeeding initiation rates among industrialized countries. According to current statistics, 83% of infants born in the United States breastfeed at birth. However, at 6 months of age, only 25 % are still exclusively breastfeeding. It is because of statistics like these that we need to raise public awareness of the benefits of breastfeeding and the importance of exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months. And though we are aware, we aren’t aware enough. Breastfeeding awareness goes global during the first week of August as the world celebrates the importance of breastfeeding!
Historically, World Breastfeeding Week honors the signing of the Innocenti Declaration. In August 1990, policy makers from more than 30 countries set an international agenda with ambitious targets aimed at improving support for breastfeeding on a global scale. The document helped pave the way for protecting, promoting, and supporting breastfeeding worldwide. The Declaration brought worldwide attention to the importance of breastfeeding but there is still much work to be done.
The theme of this year’s World Breastfeeding Week (August 1 – 7) was “Support Breastfeeding for a Healthier Planet”. In line with this theme, the World Health Organization and UNICEF are calling on governments to protect and promote women’s access to skilled breastfeeding counseling, a critical component of breastfeeding support.
This year, the theme’s focus centered around the impact infant feeding has on our environment/climate change and the imperative to protect, promote and support breastfeeding, and the health of the planet and its people. The following represent the tenets of the 2020 World Breastfeeding Week campaign:
Breastfeeding is a universal solution that levels the playing field, giving everyone a fair start in life. It improves the health, well-being and survival of women and children around the world.
- Breast milk is a natural, renewable food that is environmentally safe and green because it is produced and delivered to the consumer without pollution, packaging or waste.
- Breastfeeding is a prime example of the deep connections between health and nature’s ecosystems.
- Artificial feeding leaves a major environmental footprint that contributes to the depletion of natural resources, environmental degradation and greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming, and climate change.
- Protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding addresses inequalities that stand in the way of sustainable development.
- A warm chain of support creates an enabling environment that empowers all women/parents to breastfeed optimally.
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