How to Maintain Wellness in the Dental Profession

By Christopher T. Cooper

Dentistry is a tough profession, with long hours punctuated by difficult procedures that require high levels of technical expertise and concentration. It’s not surprising that burnout among dentists is high.

There are other mitigating circumstances, too. Dentists have studied hard for years to gain the level of professional expertise and recognition to practice. And if a dentist goes into solo practice, the environment can be a little isolated at times. Wellness in the dental profession is a hot topic.

Maintaining a healthy state of mind and body when practicing dentistry is of paramount importance. Here are three tips to contribute to positive wellness for dental professionals.

Get Active
For the most part, dentistry is a sedentary profession. Most of the day is spent sitting, and this can lead to various health issues. It’s important to check the ergonomics of your furniture to ensure you are lessening the risks of back and neck problems, which can become commonplace.

However, getting active at work can be a little tricky. A quick solution is to have a treadmill or exercise bike in the office that you can use before your first patient arrives, or even between patients. Having a private room where you can work out and then take a shower would be ideal, but resources may be limited.

Of course, this solution could be bettered by taking the time to get out and about, getting some fresh air while doing that all-important exercise. Look closely at your schedule and see how you can change things to fit in these important “me” sessions, which are vital to your physical and mental health. It may mean that you have to see a couple less patients a week, which although may not reflect well on your bottom line, is small change in comparison to not being able to work due to any health complications that can arise from failing to take adequate care of yourself.

“I always recommend active hobbies, especially if you work in a sedentary job. It doesn’t have to be anything too extreme, just some hiking or riding a bike. But the value of these activities is essential to your well-being, and helps create an effective balance in your life that we must all strive for,” recommends Brady Ozinski, a business blogger at BritStudent and WritemyX.

Surround Yourself with People
The social side of work is so important that it might be worth making a few changes in order to satisfy this need for human interaction. Make sure you employ a full support team and encourage interaction between the team. Engage with patients as much as you can and think carefully about sharing the practice with other professionals, ensuring you get to spend time with other individuals who are familiar with the trials and tribulations of this kind of high-skilled work.

“Create a social atmosphere in your practice with plenty of opportunities for interaction. Have social nights together and really build the strength of the team, which is so important for everybody in a workplace. The mental benefits of such steps cannot be underestimated,” warns Carole Franks, a health writer at Australia2write and NextCoursework.

Take Plenty of Time Off
Many solo practitioners are, by nature, workaholics. This will end up having a seriously detrimental effect on your wellness, and at the same time will have a hugely negative impact on your ability to earn in the long term. Think about the bigger picture — in order to sustain your career, it must be handled carefully.

Don’t let others judge the amount of time you take off. Chances are, as your own boss, you have the power to make these decisions, so choose what’s better for you, and then ultimately what will prove better for your patients as well, which is a professional who works at the top of his or her game when you are present. Sharing the practice with other dentists can help unburden the load here, too, as you can pick up each other’s patients at times when others are away, and generally all work toward a more productive practice that isn’t dependent on just one individual.

 

Entrepreneur, writer and editor Christopher T. Cooper is an expert in many facets of modern business practices. He is an editor at PHDKingdom and AcademicBrits, and a regular contributor to OriginWritings.

Smiles Over 65: Oral Health in Your Golden Years

By Karen Weeks, Elderwellness.net

Many people mistakenly believe that missing teeth and poor oral health is simply par for the course of aging. The truth is that you can have healthy teeth and your own natural smile for a lifetime. To make this happen as you enter your retirement years, it may become necessary to pay even closer attention to your mouth. Healthy dental habits, such as brushing and flossing, are a great start, but you also need to get comfortable in the dentist’s chair.

But it Costs so Much …

One of the most pressing issues with seniors today is that dental care is expensive. And those with original Medicare are left to foot the entire bill when their teeth and gums are on the line. There is good news, however, in that you have choices when it comes to your Medicare coverage. Medicare Advantage plans from companies like Humana offer comprehensive health care coverage, and the majority of these private Medicare policies provide a wide assortment of dental benefits. And considering that your oral health can affect other aspects of your well-being, you can’t afford not to see your dentist.

Healthy Habits

If you’re not brushing and flossing at least twice each day, you should. According to the American Dental Association, cleaning your teeth, or dentures, can help keep bacteria out of your mouth. And when it’s not in your mouth, you have less of a chance of it spreading throughout your body. Flossing is likewise important and is the most efficient way to remove solid food particles from between teeth. Dry mouth is a serious concern for many seniors, so you also should make a point to drink plenty of water and quit smoking.

Potential Problems

Even if you establish a healthy oral hygiene routine, there are still issues that can arise. Sensitive teeth, for example, can happen over time with wear and tear. As the enamel on the outside of your teeth wears down, they may feel discomfort when exposed to heat or cold. Enamel is extremely strong, but it can be damaged by aggressive brushing, receding gums, or an acidic or sugary diet.

Cavities also are cause for concern if you don’t make your teeth a priority. Even though your adult teeth are stronger and more able to fight off decay than baby teeth, certain medical conditions, such as arthritis, can leave you less able to give your mouth the attention it deserves. Regardless of age, untreated cavities can cause pain and can make it difficult to eat like you are supposed to.

Health Conditions Can Affect the Teeth

Taking care of your dental health is exceedingly important if you suffer with age-related medical conditions. High blood pressure and diabetes, for example, are known to cause or contribute to gum disease. Obesity and rheumatoid arthritis also are linked to the health of the soft tissues in your mouth. Surprisingly, even less serious conditions, like acid reflux, can wreak havoc on your teeth. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can push acid from your stomach into your mouth, and this acid can quickly wear away at your teeth. Stress, depression and many autoimmune diseases also can take a toll. For these reasons, you should make a point to visit your primary care physician for a full physical every year. Between the screenings they’ll offer and your regular dental checkups, your health care team can identify health problems that affect the teeth and vice versa.

It is possible to enjoy a beautiful smile and uninterrupted eating habits throughout your entire life. But it does take work, and a commitment to whole health. If you’re concerned about money, check your Medicare plan and make sure that you are covered.

Ms. Weeks can be reached at karen@elderwellness.net.

Live Well in Your Golden Years with These Essential Health Tips

By Karen Weeks, Elderwellness.net

If you’re a senior, chances are you’ve noticed that your body has changed in certain ways over the years. Positive and negative changes are a fact of aging, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your golden years. In fact, they can turn out to be your favorite years. By making healthy choices and taking care of yourself, you can increase your chances of thriving physically, mentally and emotionally. Here are a few tips for seniors who are looking to get and stay healthy:

Evaluate your living situation.

First, consider your health in regard to your living situation. Are you alone? Can you afford to keep your house and live comfortably? Can you move around and complete daily tasks independently? Or do you need to be somewhere that offers community, amenities and/or medical care?

If you own a house and want to stay there, it’s important to make the home modifications necessary to accommodate any limited mobility you have or may have in the future. If you need more socializing in your life, a retirement community or independent living community may be the best option — and such communities also offer varying levels of amenities and medical care.

For those who find it difficult to fulfill daily tasks on their own, assisted living should be considered. You get the care you need while still maintaining much of your independence. Plus, most assisted living facilities provide access to a wealth of social opportunities and ways to stay engaged. When researching facilities, make a point to tour several so you know what to expect, and be sure to talk to staff and residents. Take note of the costs, too, which vary significantly – A Place for Mom notes that Tallahassee facilities range anywhere from $1,500 to $6,076 a month.

Review your Medicare.

Another way to ensure your health in your golden years is to regularly review your Medicare details. Medicare plans tend to change in one way or another each year, so make sure you know what your plan covers. For instance, most people have Medicare Part A and Part B — which are essentially hospital insurance and medical insurance, respectively. However, neither of these options cover the costs of prescription drugs. Therefore, you must add Part D if you want certain medications covered.

Additionally, you can purchase supplemental plans, called Medigap plans, that help to fill in some of the gaps in coverage. As an alternative to original Medicare, many people opt for a Medicare Advantage plan (Part C), which usually covers everything that Medicare Parts A, B and D cover.

Eat nutritious meals.

Eating well is essential to people of every age, but it can be even more important for seniors. Make sure you’re getting the nutrition you need. This is more difficult to do when you eat a lot of commercial foods that are ultra-processed. Instead, opt for cooking healthy meals at home and/or choosing healthy options off the menu. Vegetables, fruits, lean meats, fish, beans and peas are examples of foods that can leave you healthier and happier in everyday life. This applies to snacks as well; for instance, apples and nuts are more nutritious than a bag of chips or crackers.

Get moving.

As with diet, exercising is critical for everyone, because it strengthens your heart, muscles, bones and mental health, among other things. A good rule of thumb is to aim for 30 minutes of physical activity a day. This can be anything from walking to jogging to weightlifting. If you’ve been out of practice for a while, it’s good to start with walking and work up the intensity from there. If necessary, you can do two 15-minute or three 10-minute sessions over the course of the day. Furthermore, many seniors prefer activities like swimming, yoga and working out on an elliptical machine, as they offer a full body workout and are easy on the joints.

Aging comes with changes, but it doesn’t mean you can’t thrive. Consider whether you need to pursue a different living situation and review your Medicare options. Make sure you’re giving your body the nutrition it needs and try to exercise 30 minutes a day. Embracing the changes while caring for your health can put you in a better position to live well.

Ms. Weeks can be reached at karen@elderwellness.net.