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Welcome to
Holistic Happenings in Orthodontics! 

In Harmony Orthodontics - Dr. Catherine Murphy, DDS, MSD 

This month’s topics:

  • Welcome Holly! 👋
  • Trunk or Treat: Teal Pumpkin Project 🎃
  • Holidays Health Tip🩺
  • Hidden Sugars: Truly Scary!🍬
  • Ahhh, Not Ouch: Acupuncture and Dental Health 🦷
  • Speech Therapy for all Ages and Stages👄
  • Every Bite Counts! By Dr. Tammy Gierke Button🍽

Welcome Holly! 

So excited to announce that Holly is helping us with patient check-in during the afternoons! Although you can’t see her smile behind the mask, she is excited to meet everyone. She fits in great, she laughs, dances, and flosses 2x every day!

Want to know more? Check out the Welcome video



Trunk or Treat: Teal Pumpkin Project

The creativity! The costumes! The fun!

Thank you Kelly Hiestand and Bridges Scoreboard for hosting this great Griffith event year after year.

Thank you Laura and Payton for decorating and passing out the treats!
We chose options that were:

🎃 Braces-friendly
🎃 Supportive of the Teal Pumpkin Project
🎃 More sustainable options. Opting for multi-use vs single use and silicone vs plastic

Hope you and yours enjoy a fun and safe Halloween! The above picture shows the difference a year can make!

(With the incredible organizer, Kelly Hiestand!)

Holidays Health Tip

Yes, the holiday season has started! Seems the decorations for Halloween have been out since July and the ones for Christmas since August! 😂🎃🎄

This time of year often leads to an increase in snacking, festive drinks and indulgences. Want help fighting the temptation? Stay hydrated! Drink more water!  💦

Staying hydrated will help:

  • Curb your hunger. Sometimes when we are thirsty, we eat rather than hydrate. Keep water closer at hand than those snacks.
  • Combat the dehydration caused by caffeinated and/or alcoholic beverages.
  • Give your immune system a boost!

See more information from these organizations:
Mayo Clinic

Hidden Sugars: Truly Scary!

Things I learned about in dental school:

  • Ketchup🍅
  • Salad dressing🥗
  • Milk 🥛
  • Coffee creamer☕
  • Breakfast cereals 🥣

Can you think of the reason why I sat in a lecture about these? Well, they all have one thing in common: sugar.

Yes, in dental school, the dangers hidden sugars could have on one’s teeth were taught. However, the systemic effects of sugar were not addressed. Since then, sugar has actually taken on many “new” names and can be even harder to spot on labels.

Thankfully, my never-ending quest to learn more caused me to stumble upon a newly released book about sneaking sweetness into our food. The book is called Sugarproof: The Hidden Dangers of Sugar that are Putting Your Child’s Health at Risk and What you Can Do.

Want to know more about how our food has changed? Why labels are frustrating to understand? Please join me in reading Sugarproof.  You can actually get a free chapter, “Smarter Without Sugar.”  Visit for details.  

Ahh, Not Ouch!

Acupuncture and Dental Health

I’ve gone from avoiding needles to looking forward to them. That’s what acupuncture has done for me. 

Wonder why an orthodontist recommends acupuncture? Then the article below by Bre Grzych is a must read! Combining the traditions of Chinese medicine with the Western advancements of orthodontics can be extremely beneficial short term AND long term.

The Benefits of Acupuncture
Bre Grzych

For most people, a trip to the dentist or orthodontist is not the most enjoyable experience. The thought of adding needles, in the form of acupuncture, might seem like it could only make the experience worse. 😟
However, when thinking in terms of increasing patient comfort and improving treatment outcomes, adding acupuncture can add significant benefits to dental visits! 🥳
Acupuncture is the most well-known modality of traditional East Asian medicine. It is the therapy involving the insertion of thin, monofilament needles at specific locations throughout the body to elicit a therapeutic response. The therapeutic actions are brought about through the regulatory actions on various systems of the body by mediating the intrinsic neural circuitry.🧠
Due to its systemic influences, it has a broad spectrum of indications, particularly in functional and pain disorders.
The selection of acupuncture points can be based on traditional theory, neuroanatomy, or myofascial issues. That means the needle can be inserted near the area of pain or dysfunction, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be.
In the case of dentistry and orthodontics, the therapeutic outcomes may include pain reduction, decreased anxiety, reduced gag reflex, treatment of oral or facial conditions such as TMJ, dry mouth, and facial neuralgia, and better oral-facial and overall health.🦷👅👄
Modern research supports the use of acupuncture in dentistry through various studies.

❇ One such study showed that regional acupuncture can accelerate the numbing effect of local nerve blocks typically used prior to dental treatments. 
❇ Another study showed that inhibiting muscular activity via auricular acupuncture can help to reduce the gag reflex.
❇ Further studies show that by reducing muscle tension and spasms in the muscles of that jaw, acupuncture is able to reduce the pain and clicking associated with TMJ.
❇ Numerous studies, though not specific to acupuncture in dentistry, have been conducted to discover the mechanisms through which acupuncture is able to provide pain relief via local and distal needling.

It is studies like these and several others that demonstrate how acupuncture can be a sensible adjunct to current dental practices, both as an analgesic and treatment for various dental and facial disorders. 
When looking beyond the benefits of the oral-facial region, acupuncture as an adjunct to dental and orthodontic care is able to improve the health of the entire body. One such example of this is when using acupuncture for xerostomia, or dry mouth. 👄
💦By improving the oral microbiome through better saliva production, the digestive system is better able to start the breakdown of food and offer support to the immune system found in our digestive tract. Adequate saliva production also helps balance pH and moisture levels in the mouth, which supports optimal dental health and can help mitigate tooth decay. 
🦷👃 Acupuncture is also an ideal adjunct therapy to airway-focused orthodontic care. Acupuncture is able to help restore proper nasal breathing by helping to reduce inflammation in the airway and reducing excess mucus production, which can make nasal breathing difficult. By restoring proper nasal breathing, the body can experience numerous benefits, including better sleep, better focus, and reduced upper body tension. And of course, acupuncture can help reduce the pain associated with orthodontic care!

What’s more, the connections of the dental structures to the rest of the body can help offer diagnostic clues. Traditional East Asian medicine views the body as being connected through an internal circuitry of meridians. While these meridians are not clearly defined or visible from a western medicine point of view, modern scholars hypothesize that the meridians are actually a combination of the fascial, nerve, and circulatory structures.
It is through the meridians, or fascia, that the teeth can be connected to various regions and organs in the body. While an issue in a particular tooth is not indicative of a problem in another organ, it can be used to look at the body in a more holistic manner.
Dysfunctions in the body that have been resistant to change have the potential to improve if there is an issue in the associated teeth that can be corrected. Also, supporting the function of an associated organ can in turn support the health of the associated teeth. While this level of interconnectedness of the body might sound radical, it has been supported through thousands of years of anecdotal and clinical evidence.
By combining this paradigm of deep interconnection with modern research on the systemic effects of acupuncture, it is no wonder that it can be used to treat a wide variety of ailments, both in the field of dentistry and beyond. Acupuncture is generally regarded as safe, non-toxic, and with minimal risk and side effects. It is able to enhance patient comfort, increase treatment compliance, and improve overall outcomes. While adding acupuncture to the practice of dentistry and orthodontics might seem paradoxical, it truly can add a plethora of benefits.

About Bre Grzych

Bre Grzych is a nationally board certified acupuncturist and massage therapist. Having been in practice for over a decade, she has had the opportunity to explore different treatment paradigms and techniques, as well as treat a wide variety of conditions. She loves having the ability to blend different treatment modalities to create a truly individualized treatment plan. She has extensive continuing education in pediatric and orthopedic acupuncture, as well as medical massage. Her role as a mother has shaped her perspective on life and health care. Everything needs to be as simple, practical, and effective as possible and natural whenever possible. When she is not in the office or a continuing education class, she can be found in her backyard enjoying her kids, dogs, chickens, and garden.

Bre can be found at Simple Wellness Collective in Crown Point. Follow her on Instagram @bregrzych.nwiacu or email her at

Spotlight on Speech

New mini-series!

Good communication is key.

This is repeated when referring to everything from parenting to relationships to work. The processes involved in vocal communication are often taken for granted.

The field of speech pathology is incredibly fascinating.

Orthodontists have made referrals to speech pathologist/therapists for years. However, now with myofunctional therapy (myo) there is a more complete bridge connecting the two professions.

Why? Well, because until that bridge was formed, both professions had:

  • Limitations on what they assessed. 
  • Often met unexplained roadblocks in their individual treatment.
  • To adapt as best as possible to the constraints of the case.
Now due to myo and the collaboration I have with speech pathologists, I can help treatment plans get through the hurdles and constraints to enhance the result more efficiently.

It’s my pleasure to welcome Anne Marie Pasternock,  MA CF-SLP. She will be providing a new mini-series providing insights into speech and myofunctional therapy.


“I don’t need a speech therapist. My speech is fine!” is something that my fellow speech language pathologists (SLPs) and I hear all the time.
While the field of speech-language pathology was originated in speech, the scope of practice is full of variety and growing every day. SLPs treat all ages and stages of life. We are there to help infants with feeding, children with language, and adults recovering from strokes or head and neck cancer.
SLPs are diagnosticians and behavior modifiers from the lungs to the brain, but that title is too long to catch on.

When the need for experts in feeding and swallowing arose, SLPs were a perfect fit because:
1. Trained in the anatomy of the head & neck and
2. Experts in behavior change.
A common concern that I hear from parents is picky eating. Many parents feel limited with their options or may not know that there are strategies to expanding a child’s palate.

If you see an SLP for feeding, you can expect a systematic, research-based approach that is customized to your child.

Common question, "What are some behaviors that may benefit from a consultation with a SLP, especially one with a myofunctional therapy outlook?"
- Avoidance of specific foods
- Avoidance of certain textures
- Chewing with an mouth open
- Taking tiny or overly-large bites
- Chronic coughing
- Gagging after eating
- Difficulty eating chewy or crunchy foods.
All of the above are potential concerns that should be discussed with an SLP and myofunctional therapist. 

About Anne Marie Pasternock, M.A. CF-SLP

Anne Marie Pasternock, M.A. CF-SLP, is a classical singer turned speech-language pathologist completing her clinical fellowship. She received her Master of Arts degree with a thesis from the University of Iowa where she achieved national recognition for her research. She currently treats children and adults for a variety of communication and swallowing disorders. 

Every Bite Counts!
First-ever dietary guidelines for first two years of life

Every Bite Counts!
By Dr. Tammy Gierke Button

The United States Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee published the first-ever dietary guidelines for infants up to 24 months of age earlier this year.

The committee reviewed the required dietary building blocks to support healthy development and concluded that the combination of foods recommended for ages 6-24 months leaves no remaining dietary energy (calorie intake) for added sugars.

In addition, this recommendation is based upon a diet that will allow for optimal growth and development and protect against childhood obesity, Type II Diabetes, and tooth decay. So what does this actually mean? 

The Advisory Committee defines added sugars as:
  • Sugars added during food processing and packaging
    • Look in the ingredients for: high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup solids, sucrose, dextrose, molasses to name a few
  • Foods packaged as sweeteners
    • Table sugar
  • Sugars from syrups (such as maple syrup) and honey
  • Sugars from concentrated fruit and vegetables
    • Fruit juice
    • Vegetable juice
**It is important to note that added sugars do not include natural sugars found in milk (lactose), or fruit and vegetables in the whole form. However, as noted above, when you concentrate juice from fruits and vegetables, the juice is considered added sugars.

This is very important to understand because juices are not as healthy as it seems. The juice of the fruit or vegetable is where the majority of the sugars are concentrated and when it is separated from the whole fruit or vegetable you gain the sweetness but lose the fiber, vitamins, and nutrients.

When you drink a glass of orange juice, it may have taken up to 12 oranges to produce that glass of juice. Imagine eating 12 whole oranges – most likely you would not. You would enjoy one orange and be satisfied. Serving juice to toddlers allows for overconsumption of sugars without the nutritional benefits of the whole fruit or vegetable.      
With these new guidelines it is important as a parent to read every label before you buy something to feed to your child – or yourself!

The name of a food and the description can tell a very different story than the nutrition label. For example, let’s look at the nutrition label for a popular brand of fruit snacks. The front of the package boldly states the product is made with real fruit and contains all kinds of vitamins and minerals. Here are the ingredients – can you count the different added sugars?

The added sugars include: corn syrup, modified corn starch, and Concord grape juice from concentrate. If a toddler gets used to this much added sugar, he/she will never enjoy the sweetness of “just a grape” in addition to ingesting all of these empty calories. 

Let’s look at the nutrition label and see how many added sugars there are per serving: 
There are 13g of total sugars and 11g of added sugars. The important number on the nutrition label is the added sugars. If this were total sugars 13g and 0g Added Sugars that would indicate that the sugars in this product came only from the fruit. The 11g Added Sugars tells us a different story.

According to our new dietary guidelines, our toddlers up until 24 months of age should only be ingesting foods that have 0g of added sugars!

What are some other popular foods with added sugars?
  • Ketchup
  • Chicken nuggets
  • Yogurt
  • Cereals
  • Flavored oatmeal
  • Lunch meat
  • Bread
  • Pizza
  • Tomato sauce
  • Fish sticks
Any food that is processed has the potential for added sugars to be present. Please check nutrition labels and read ingredients of everything you buy. And, write to your elected leaders. As consumers we deserve labeling on our food that isn’t confusing and food that is nutritionally sound for our families!
About Dr. Tammy Gierke Button DDS, MSD, MA
Pediatric Dentist
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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