A Day in the Sun: Vitamin D and Overall Health

smile sun

With the recent change in the daylight saving schedule it is hard to miss the fact that we are all enjoying more sunlight in our day.  I know I can feel a visceral difference as the days get longer.  Most will probably agree, there is just something nice about leaving work for the day and having the sun still shining in the sky.  With the waning of winter weather and daylight stretching into the evening hours, I am reminded of how important of a role sunlight plays in our overall health and well-being.

The term vitamin D is a bit of a misnomer as the role of the molecule in the body is more of a hormone.  It has been found to be integral to a plethora of cellular functions throughout the body.  It is an important regulator of calcium and phosphorus absorption.  A vitamin D deficiency can have serious implications on health. It is an independent risk factor for mortality rates across the general population.


Science has found direct correlations between sufficient Vitamin D levels in the body and:


  • Normal growth and development
  • Bone strength and function
  • Prevention of heart disease
  • Lung function
  • Healthy brain and nervous system function
  • Resistance to certain diseases, such as the flu
  • Mood regulation, deficiency is correlated with anxiety and depression
  • Maintaining a healthy weight


As you can see, proper vitamin D intake is an integral factor in overall health.  Believe it or not, the list above hardly touches the surface of all the way vitamin D has been linked to basic functions in the body and prevalence and outcomes of many serious diseases.  It is really imperative to discuss this with your doctor to make sure your levels are where they should be.  They may recommend improving deficient levels with an oral supplement.  However, vitamin D in the form of dietary supplements is much more difficult for the body to absorb. There is no substitute for the bioavailability of vitamin D that is synthesized from the sun through skin.  It is recommended that 10 minutes of sun exposure (without sunblock) 3 times a week should be enough to maintain healthy levels in the body. 


So get out there, breathe some fresh air and take an important step in improving your health!


-Tim Mavroules

sun heart

Causes of bleeding gums and when to see your dentist

Seeing blood after you brush your teeth can be alarming, but don't panic! You may be able to cure your bleeding gums without having to go to the dentist, depending on the situation. Let's talk about what causes bleeding gums and when you should see your dentist about it.

They may be tiny, but your gums have a big job.

They protect the roots and neck of your teeth from bacteria.Without healthy gums, bacteria can sneak beneath your teeth and cause tissue damage. Eventually, the tissues become too damaged to hold your teeth, thus leading to loose teeth that can even fall out.


What causes bleeding gums?

1. Gingivitis (gum disease)

If you don't brush or floss regularly, plaque builds up in the groove around your teeth. Sometimes you can see the plaque as white or yellowish marks by your gums. As it grows and moves, they irritate your gums causing gingivitis. It's the early stage of gum disease, and its most common symptom is bleeding gums. Other symptoms are red gums, sensitive gums, and bad breath. Luckily this stage is reversible. Your dentist can help scrape away plaque and bacteria. Brushing and flossing keep the bacteria way for good. However, if gingivitis gets worse, your gums may start to pull away from your teeth, leaving space for bacteria to travel into tissues below your teeth. The longer bacteria lives in your tissue, the worse your dental health gets. 


2. Pregnancy

Pregnancy changes your hormones that affect your entire body. Hormone changes can cause "pregnancy gingivitis". Your gums may swell up and become sensitive, causing bleeding when you brush or floss. To avoid oral health issues, talk to your dentist about how to care for your teeth when you're pregnant.


3. Medicines

The medicine you take can make your gums more likely to bleed, even if you have excellent brushing and flossing habits. Blood thinners and aspirin keep your blood from clotting. These medicines especially increase your risk of bleeding gums and may cause your gums to bleed for a long time after brushing. You should tell your dentist if you're taking these medicines. 


4. A new oral health routine

If you started a new oral health routine, such as brushing or flossing more often, your gums may bleed until your mouth gets used to the new habits. Brushing and flossing clear away bacteria and plaque from your gums. As you practice these good habits, your gums should bleed less until it eventually stops altogether. Also, brushing too hard can irritate your gums and cause them to bleed. Always use a gentle motion when brushing and consider getting a brush with soft bristles. 


When to see your dentist...

Sometimes if you practice good habits, your gums will get better without a visit to the dentist. But if your gums bleed regularly, such as every time you brush your teeth for a few weeks, I encourage you to make an appointment! You should also call your dentist if your gums bleed for a long time after you have stopped brushing or flossing. I also recommend that you see your dentist if you experience these symptoms:

  • red/swollen gums
  • sensitive gums
  • gums that seem to be separating from teeth -- leaving a gap between the gum and the tooth
  • frequent bad breath or taste in your mouth
  • loose teeth as an adult
  • changes in the way your top and bottom teeth align

The sooner you see your dentist about signs of gum disease, the more likely you'll be able to reverse the condition.


-- Jackie

A Brief History of Floss

Healthy Clean White Smile Floss

Humans have been treating their mouth related ailments for at least 10,000 years. Some of the earliest evidence of direct intervention of caries includes bow drills and accompanying dental abrasions in the archaeological catalog of the Indus Valley Civilizations dating back to 7,000 BC.  Early forms of the toothbrush have been attributed to Chinese civilization back in 3,000 BC.  Surely, pieces of string have been used to remove detritus from people’s teeth for as long as string has been around.  But invention of modern dental floss occurred much more recently in 1815 by New Orleans dentist Levi Spear Parmly.  In his book A Practical Guide to the Management of the Teeth, Parmly described a waxed string he developed to be used as a device to remove harmful debris from between the teeth and gum line as a way to prevent oral disease.   It is a simple concept and application, but since its initial inception dental floss has undergone numerous transformations over the years.


Levi Parmly’s promotion of his dental floss caused it to become widely accepted across the field of dentistry.  But it took nearly 70 years for it to reach the homes of the everyday consumer.  That’s when in 1882 Codman and Shurtlefelt started marketing the first mass available, non-waxed silk string floss.  From there it was only a matter of time before dental floss would become the staple of your daily oral care routine it is today.


The silk-based floss remained relatively unchanged until the 1940s and 50s.  Dr. Charles C Bass created a floss using nylon instead of silk, for its better elasticity and less fraying.  Within the same decade, dental tape came onto the scene offering a more comfortable feel between users’ teeth and greater tooth surface area covered.


Over the years, companies have developed floss and flossing technologies more and more to help accommodate an activity many people agree is not their favorite part of the day.  Floss today comes in many variations including waxed and unwaxed, mono- and multi-filaments, threaded and tape styles, various thicknesses, and picks and wands for easier handling.  The latest trend that is truly changing the game of cleaning between teeth is the interdental brush.  Very thin brushes used to get between teeth are shown to be more efficient at removing plaque than their flossing string counterparts. 


Of course, no discussion of reaching tight places between teeth and along gum lines would be complete without mentioning Doctor Plotka’s antimicrobial toothbrushes with flossing bristles!  The technology has come full circle where you now have a toothbrush with the unique ability to reach deep between teeth and into grooves to provide a superior cleaning experience.  Our brushes are not designed to replace flossing but are the perfect complement, and fill-in where flossing and brushing with the traditional tools fall short.

-Tim Mavroules



History of Toothpaste

Oral hygiene has always been a top priority in society as far as we can remember. Although the toothpaste that we have available today seem to be more effective in preventing oral disease, the ones created in the past weren't too different!
Take a look at this brief timeline:
4th century AD: The Egyptians created the oldest known formula. It was a mixture of crushed rock salt, dried iris flowers and pepper. Even though this was known to create bleeding gums, researchers suggested that it was most effective compared to most toothpastes used as recently as a century ago.
1780: It was known that people were scrubbing their teeth with a powder mainly made of burnt bread. 
1824: A dentist (named Peabody) added soap to toothpaste for added cleanliness. However, later on, it was replaced by sodium lauryn sulfate to create a smooth paste.
1873: Colgate produced and launched their nice-smelling toothpaste and it was sold in a jar.
1892: Dr. Sheffield was the first person to put toothpaste in a collapsible tube -- it's been suggested that his version is the most similar to today's version.
1914: Fluoride was added to toothpastes after it was discovered that it significantly decreased dental cavities.
1975: Herbal toothpastes, like Tom's, became an alternative to cleaning teeth without fluoride. It contained ingredients like peppermint oil, myrrh and plant extracts.
1987: Edible toothpaste was invented. It was mainly used by children who were learning to brush their teeth, but it was invented by NASA so astronauts could brush their teeth without spitting into a zero-gravity abyss. 
1989: Rembrandt invented the first toothpaste that claimed to "whiten and brighten your smile". 
The world of dentistry is always evolving! I wonder what other milestones we'll reach today. 
-- Jackie

Small Habits that have Big Rewards

Once the New Year's afterglow begins to fade, many of us lose inspiration to create or continue positive change in our lives. In fact, Jan 12th was National Quitters Day - the day that most people abandon their resolutions. One of the reasons resolutions don't tend to stick is because they are often drastic/extreme, requiring huge life changes, or they're goals that are too vague, and therefore difficult to work toward. An example: Deciding you're going to work out 7x/week as a resolution is drastic and unsustainable if you were working out 0x/week before, and deciding to "be more active" is too vague...if you wanted to cheat the system, you could stand up from your desk 1 extra time per day, and you'd technically be "more active"!

In order for positive changes to happen and stick, it's often a good idea to start with small habits. Although small habits & changes may initially seem insignificant, any kind of consistent change is better than short-lived big changes or no changes at all. Here are some small habits you can try to incorporate into your life that can have massive payoff!


1. Set a goal for Hydration

Saying "I want to drink more water" simply isn't enough if you really want to enact change. A good benchmark for how much water you should drink is calculated like so: divide your weight (lbs) in half, and that's how many ounces you should try to drink each day. For example: a 200-pound man should try to drink 100 oz of water/day. These numbers may seem daunting, but if you commit to steadily drinking water (for me it took buying a huge water bottle with a carrying strap!), you'll begin to notice positive changes. Your skin can clear up, you can feel more energized, you'll even feel less hungry--did you know that oftentimes, your stomach can't distinguish hunger from thirst? Next time you feel the munchies, drink a glass of water.

2. Meditate!

I'm not saying you have to get up at the crack of dawn and climb to the top of a mountain to "experience nature"--I'm just saying that meditation as a practice is really beneficial to your life. If you're like me, and you're bad at emptying your mind, try guided meditations. I use an app called "Calm" every night, and I use guided meditations/sleep stories to help my mind shut off and get ready for rest. It's become a routine of mine, and I've noticed a massive positive change in my sleep quality and how fast I can fall asleep. Try incorporating meditation into your morning or night routines--the results could surprise you.

3. Take care of yourself.

This doesn't mean you need to blow money on tons of expensive treatments or pampering sessions (although you're welcome to do so!). It's simply important to dedicate time each day to caring for one's self. In my own life, I practice self care by treating myself to face masks, and by dedicating time every evening to being alone. This allows me time to recharge (I'm an introvert so solitude is a must), and to spend quality time with my pet cat Rosie (the ultimate therapy!). Try carving out just 10 minutes a day for yourself, whether it's to paint your nails, do some feel-good stretches, etc--giving yourself time to be "selfish" is imperative! The better you take care of yourself, the better your perform in other aspects of life: work, relationships, finances, and more.


I hope this little list inspires some of you to make small adjustments to your routines! It can have a profound impact.





January 21, 2019


The 10-year challenge

The #10yearchallenge has begun a couple of days ago but it is already all over the Social Media. People post pictures of themselves from 2009 vs 2019, laughing at the changes. It resulted in thousands of memes; not sure about you but my Instagram feed has no doubt been overrun with #10YearChallenge posts.

So I decided to share the Mouthwatchers 10-year Challenge! Hope you like it!




The best part of this challenge (as for me), is that it has brought attention to the environmental changes. See what’s happening to our Planet.


Did you participate in the challenge?


- Violetta

New Year, New You? Happy 2019!

Hello everyone and Happy New Year!


Another year has just began and that’s the time when many of us are going to make (if not yet) New Year’s Resolutions. Statistically only 1 of 13 people is successful in achieving them. We all hope that the new year is going to be a much better one especially if the previous year was a tough one. I know that I am one of those people who hope for the best.


What do you think are the most popular New Year’s resolutions?

Here are the top 10 New Year's resolutions according to’s survey of 2,000 people:

  1. Diet or eat healthier (71 percent)
  2. Exercise more (65 percent)
  3. Lose weight (54 percent)
  4. Save more and spend less (32 percent)
  5. Learn a new skill or hobby (26 percent)
  6. Quit smoking (21 percent)
  7. Read more (17 percent)
  8. Find another job (16 percent)
  9. Drink less alcohol (15 percent)
  10. Spend more time with family and friends (13 percent)

Those are all great goals but why are we failing them every year? The one reason could be that the goals we are setting are too ambitious. Unfortunately people do not realize that in order to achieve those goals you have to make a commitment and start small.

If you plan on quitting smoking  - do not just stop smoking at the moment. It has to be a process. If you smoke 7 cigarettes a day reduce it to 6, then to 5 and so on until you are READY to quit completely.

Is your goal clear? You have better chances to achieve your goal if your goal is specific. Examples of GOOD GOALS:

  • I want to save $5000 this year vs I want to save money this year
  • I want to lose 6 lbs before summer vs I want to lose weight
  • I will start walking/running 3 times a week vs I want to exercise more.

We work better when we have a clear mind. More over, those goals are measurable. Since you can measure the results, every little accomplishment (saved $500, ran 2 miles, lost 2 lb) will motivate you to do even MORE.

I’m no different in my New Year’s resolutions. I want to eat healthier, -finally- start going tothegym and save X amount of money.

What’s YOUR New Year’s resolution and how are you planning to achieve it?

- Violetta





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