Self-care

the science behind handwashing and preventing illness 62a207c8687f6

The Science Behind Handwashing and Preventing Illness

Why Handwashing Keeps Us Healthy

Our hands allow us to explore and interact with the world around us. Unfortunately, this means that our hands are often the first point of contact when touching contaminated surfaces. The average person can touch nearly 300 different surfaces in just half an hour. This, coupled with frequently touching our faces, can make it easy for germs to move around our bodies and transmit illness.

The best way to prevent germs from spreading illness or disease is through frequent, thorough handwashing, especially when interacting with potentially contaminated surfaces. Proper handwashing physically removes over 99% of germs, and handwashing alone can reduce bacterial and viral illness by 20 to 50%.

Science supports that one of the single most impactful things someone can do to protect their health and the health of those around them is to follow effective handwashing habits.

The Most Effective Handwashing Habits

Effective handwashing isn’t a matter of overwashing your hands or constantly cleaning them, but rather paying special attention to key moments when hands are likely contaminated. You also need to be mindful of washing your hands thoroughly and long enough for germs to be removed.

The two most important times to wash your hands are after using the bathroom and before eating. A simple trip to the restroom can double the number of germs on your hands. Foodborne illness is also a common health problem that can be prevented by as much as 50% with just handwashing.

Some other important times to wash your hands include:

  • Before and after caring for someone who is sick or injured
  • After playing with, feeding, or cleaning up after a pet
  • Before, during, and after cooking or meal prepping
  • After sneezing, coughing, rubbing your nose, etc.
  • After handling waste, recycling, and garbage bins

When you do wash your hands, follow these 5 steps:

  1. Get your hands completely wet.
  2. Apply soap all over your hands.
  3. Lather and scrub very thoroughly for 20 seconds.
  4. Rinse with clean, running water.
  5. Dry with a clean towel or air dryer.

Handwashing and hand sanitizer are a team.

While a 60% or more alcohol-based hand sanitizer kills many different strains of bacteria and viruses, it doesn’t remove them or eliminate all varieties. Because of this, it’s best to see hand sanitizer as an easy way to sanitize on the go, but not a direct replacement for handwashing.

For example, after running errands, it’s a good idea to wash your hands thoroughly when you can, even if you used hand sanitizer while out. It’s especially important to wash rather than sanitize before eating a meal or after using the bathroom.

The Bentz Dental Implant & Prosthodontic Center provides a healthy, hygienic environment for patients.

Your health is our main priority, and we don’t just mean your oral health! Dr. Bentz and the team go above and beyond to maintain a sanitary and hygienic environment for patients. This includes keeping our facility very clean, following CDC protocol for sanitization, and screening patients to ensure everyone who visits is healthy.

For more information, give our office a call or use this online form.

your best retirement self care health and enjoying life 62a2101e85947

Your Best Retirement: Self-Care, Health, and Enjoying Life

Retirement is called the golden years for a reason.

No matter how much we love our careers, we all look forward to retirement. It’s the crowning achievement in every working person’s life. Plus, it’s a time to relax and enjoy the life we’ve built for ourselves. In the United States, the average worker retires between the ages of 63 and 65 and enjoys at least 20 years of retirement.

So how do you get the most enjoyment out of your retirement years? The key to having the best retirement possible is to have a plan.

Luckily, we’ve outlined some helpful tips and tricks below. Keep reading to find out how you can have the retirement you always dreamed of.

Put your needs and wants first.

Thanks to 40 years of self-discipline and sacrifice, you’re used to prioritizing the needs of others. You needed to support your household, children, and loved ones, so it was only natural to put others first.

But once you’ve retired, it’s time to think about what you want for a change. Are you torn between helping your child cover a downpayment on a house and a bucket list vacation?

Choose the vacation.

At least 50% of retired Americans use their own savings to help their adult children. But you worked hard for that money and it needs to last you through retirement. Think about what you want to do with your own money before deciding if you can realistically help someone else.

Build health and wellness into your daily routine.

If you want to have the best retirement possible, start eating right and exercising regularly. A healthy diet can help you feel better and improve your oral health, while exercise can boost your mood and improve your strength.

Start each day with a healthy breakfast and a brisk walk. This routine will jumpstart your metabolism and you’ll feel ready to tackle the day. Plus, this kind of structure can help replace your former work routine.

Retiring is a major life transition, so it’s common to feel stressed or even aimless at times. Mental health is a critical part of overall wellness, so if diet and exercise aren’t helping, you should reach out to a mental health professional for help.

Invest in your social life.

Retirement comes with a lot of freedom. But that freedom also means you’re losing some of your routines that put in you front of people on a regular basis. You probably had the chance to connect with your work friends each day without much effort.

Without those social connections, it’s natural to feel a little lonely. So cultivate your friendships once you retire. You can make lunch plans with a coworker, go for a walk with a friend you haven’t seen in a while, or call a loved one. With a vibrant social life, you’ll feel happier and more connected to others.

And feeling connected to others has shown to increase our longevity and result in better health overall.

 Keep up with your healthcare.

One of the best retirement tips is to keep up with your healthcare. Maybe you’ve been neglecting your yearly physicals, your dental cleanings, or your eye exams. Now that you don’t have to coordinate your appointments with your days off work, it’s a great time to prioritize your wellness checks. Make sure to get yearly blood work and take care of your cancer screenings.

The more frequently you visit the doctor, the sooner you’ll be able to catch any potential problems.

Do things you’ve been putting off.

Whether it’s working on renovation projects around the house or cleaning out the garage, retirement is the perfect time to cross things off your list. It’s a great way to give yourself a sense of purpose and accomplishment that you may be lacking without work-related goals.

Try to get to those fun projects, though, sooner rather than later. Something that is more of a hobby than a project even. If you’ve always wanted to learn Italian or start a vegetable garden, try it out now. You can use retirement to do the things you’ve been putting off, whether it’s a household project or an exciting new hobby.

Try out some local activities.

You don’t have to go on a major trip right away if you don’t want to. Stay close to home and enjoy what the area has to offer.

If you call the Philadelphia area home, there’s a ton of great local activities to enjoy. You can go hiking, enjoy a park picnic, and check out a local farmer’s market, all without leaving the metro area.

Book your dream trips.

But if you have been dreaming of traveling the globe, make a plan. While you have unlimited vacation time, make sure you’re back for the important moments in the kids’ and grandkids’ lives, too. And by important, we mean graduations and weddings and christenings. Don’t feel bad for scheduling a trip that coincides with the loss of little Timmy’s first tooth. The grandkids can video chat you to stay connected.

If the trip includes something physically demanding like hiking or skydiving, work up to it, especially if you’re like most of us who spend our work days sitting at a desk. Start an exercise routine that will get you into shape for your big plans.

Spend your retirement savings (wisely).

A happy retirement needs to strike the balance between spending wisely and enjoying your money. After all, this is what you’ve been saving for all your life. And, of course, you don’t want to run out of money, either, which can cause stress and frustration.

If you’re not sure how to strike this balance, talk to a trusted financial advisor. They can help you decide how to balance your social security check with your pension, 401k, or any other savings you might have.

You deserve the best retirement possible.

After decades of hard work and sacrifice, you’ve earned the right to enjoy the best retirement ever.

While you’re having the time of your life, don’t forget to make time to visit the dentist. At Bentz Dental Implant and Prosthodontic Center, we offer everything from preventative cleanings to smile restorations.

We’ll see you soon.

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10 Best TMJ Exercises to Relieve TMJ Pain

TMJ disorder is more common than you might think.

At least 5 to 12% of the U.S. population lives with some form of TMJ pain or discomfort. That works out to be roughly 10 million people who suffer from this painful jaw joint condition. Jaw pain can make it hard to talk, chew, and enjoy everyday life. For some sufferers, they experience frequent headaches or neck pain.

The question is, what can you do to ease the pain?

Luckily, there are some exercises you can try right now to get relief. Read on to learn about TMJ and how jaw exercises can help.

What is TMJ?

Your TMJ or temporomandibular joints connect your jaw to your skull. That joint makes it possible for you to chew, talk, laugh, and sing. While TMJ technically refers to the joint itself, many people use it to refer to the painful disorder that can result from an issue with the joint. You might also hear these joint problems called TMJD or TMD.

If your jaw muscles often feel sore or you have trouble opening your mouth all the way, you might have a TMJ issue. Cracking or popping sounds or pain when you chew are also symptoms.

How can TMJ exercises offer some relief?

Have you ever noticed how your joints and muscles feel better after a brisk walk? That’s because exercise is an important part of staying healthy. That’s also why the CDC recommends adults get 150 minutes of strength training and aerobic exercise every week. It’s also important to exercise properly so you don’t injure yourself.

You can apply that same line of thinking to your TMJ pain. TMJ pain happens when there’s an issue with your jaw joint. That’s usually caused by an imbalance in the muscle movement that controls your jaw. Jaw exercises can stretch out your muscles, encourage healing, and help your jaw joint move better.

While TMJ exercises may not help in all cases, they can offer immediate relief for many people. That said, please see your dentist if pain worsens or persists.

1. Jaw Muscle Massage

Use your fingers to gently massage the muscles in your jaw. Focus on the hinge area and along your jawbone. Massage your jaw using a downward circular motion. If the muscles in your face feel sore under this gentle pressure, this technique can relieve some of the tension. You can also use a warm or cold compress for 10 minutes at a time.

2. Slow Alignment Exercise

Stand in front of a mirror and slowly open your mouth. As you do this, try to keep your two front teeth in alignment with your two bottom teeth. You can repeat this up to 5 times. This helps strengthen your jaw muscles while maintaining proper jaw alignment.

3. Side-to-Side Exercise with Object

Get a small object like a pencil or a stack of three tongue depressors (or craft sticks). Whatever you use, it should be about a quarter of an inch thick. Put the object between your teeth and move your jaw from side to side without dropping the object. As it gets easier, you can use a thicker object. This improves your jaw’s flexibility and range of motion.

4. Forward-and-Backwards Exercise with Object

Use the same object from the exercise above and set it between your teeth. Slowly move your jaw forward so your bottom teeth stick out past your top teeth. Repeat this at least 5 times.

When it gets easier, you can upgrade to the same thicker object from exercise 3.

5. Chin Tucking Neck Exercise

Stand up straight with your shoulders back. Push your chin down until it looks like you have a double chin and hold for a few seconds. You can repeat this up to 10 times.

TMD pain can also feel like neck pain. This exercise will strengthen and add mobility to your neck and jaw joint.

6. Wide Mouth Exercise

Put the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth. Open your mouth as wide as you can. Then, move your tongue toward your tonsils and then forward so it’s sticking out of your mouth. This exercise helps strengthen the muscles in your lower jaw.

7. Open Mouth with Resistance

Place your thumb underneath your chin. Slowly open your mouth while gently pressing up with your thumb. Hold for about 3 seconds and repeat at least 3 times. You should feel a bit of pressure, but no pain. This will strengthen your jaw joint.

8. Close Mouth with Chin Pressure

Open your mouth and press your index fingers against the front of your chin. Try to close your mouth against the resistance of your fingers. This will strengthen the specific muscles you use for chewing.

9. Open and Close Mouth Exercise

First, open your mouth as wide as you can and close your mouth. Then, open your mouth half as wide and do it again. This will improve the range of motion in your jaw..

10. Relaxed Jaw Opening Exercise

Put your tongue on the roof of your mouth behind your front teeth. Let your mouth open without straining the muscles in your jaw. Repeat this at least five times. This gentle exercise is a great way to exercise your jaw without causing too much strain.

Still not getting the relief you want?

TMJ pain can be frustrating to live with. It takes the enjoyment out of everyday pleasures like eating and talking. It can even make sleeping difficult. Luckily, these exercises can provide some relief. Be sure to schedule an appointment with your dentist whether these exercises bring you relief or not. It’s always a good idea to have your jaw joints evaluated.

If you’re looking for jaw pain relief, contact us today. We specialize in caring for patients with TMJ disorder.

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7 Tips to Overcome a Fear of the Dentist and Dental Anxiety

Does going to the dentist make you nervous? We’ve got a few tips to help you out.

Your oral health plays a very important role in your life. Not only is your oral health directly connected to your general health, but your smile is a big factor in your success in life. Having healthy teeth and gums ensures you can enjoy life, whether it be eating your favorite foods without fear of a toothache or sharing your beautiful smile with those around you.

Unfortunately, dental anxiety can sometimes get in the way of pursuing your best smile. In fact, dental anxiety affects over 60% of adults globally. The good news is dental anxiety can be managed just as any other phobia or fear can be. With the help of a caring dental team, you can gain control over your fears and empower yourself to get the dental care you need.

If you feel nervous and afraid or even find yourself dreading your dental appointments, Brocks Gap Dental Group wants to help you in any way it can. A great way to start gaining control over your dental anxiety is by applying one or all of these 7 helpful tips.

1. Feel empowered by sharing your anxiety with our dental team and telling them how they can help.

Letting others know about your dental anxiety can feel tough, but taking control of your anxiety and acknowledging it is actually a very empowering experience. Sharing how you feel with our dental team allows us to serve you in a manner that makes you feel as comfortable as possible.

For example, some patients have a fear of the unknown and feel much more comfortable knowing everything that is going to happen in detail. Other patients may be the opposite, preferring details to be kept to a minimum to avoid added stress. Before your appointment begins, let the dentist/hygienist/assistant know you have dental anxiety and fill them in on how they can best help you.

2. Seeing your dentist often can help condition you to feel more confident during treatment appointments.

When a situation sparks anxiety, people tend to naturally avoid it as much as possible. Unfortunately, avoiding dental appointments not only puts your oral health at risk, but it often doesn’t help alleviate any anxiety when you finally do see your dentist.

A better option is to push yourself to see your dentist more regularly. We recommend our patients see us every six months for a cleaning and exam, but we are always happy to see you more often for quick checkups. Doing so can condition you to feel more comfortable with our dental team — and your teeth and gums will thank you!

3. Schedule your appointment when the office isn’t as busy and arrive early so you have time to decompress.

A busy office can make your anxiety feel even more overwhelming. When you’re booking your appointment, ask the staff member you’re speaking to which days and times are least busy. You may also benefit from getting your appointment taken care of early in the morning rather than waiting all day and potentially feeling more anxious.

Another tip is to arrive about 10 minutes early so you can sit and relax for a bit before your actual appointment time. This can be really helpful for those who feel nervousness related to feeling rushed or being late.

4. Don’t hesitate to request in-office sedation to help you relax, even if the procedure is as routine as a filling.

Bentz Dental Implant & Prosthodontic Center offers in-office sedation, including nitrous oxide or injectable local anesthesia. We also offer hospital sedation for pediatric patients, but even adults with crippling dental fear may find it to be an option.

We encourage our anxious patients to not hesitate to request some form of sedation if it means they will have a more pleasant experience. Nitrous oxide is a great choice for patients who are having trouble relaxing during their appointment and simply want to take the edge off their anxiety.

5. Listen to music or an audiobook to help draw your mind away from sounds that trigger anxiety.

The sounds of a dental drill, the clinking of dental tools, and even just the general ambiance in a dental office can be an anxiety trigger. If you find yourself in this predicament, consider wearing earbuds and listening to something on your phone during your next appointment. You can play some of your favorite music, a guided meditation track, or an audiobook.

6. Bringing a loved one with you to your appointment can help boost your confidence.

Feeling alone can trigger even more anxiety when you’re already in a stressful situation. Although you’ll have our welcome team around you during your appointment, nothing is quite as reassuring as having a loved one accompany you to your visit.

Having someone to chat with on your way to your dental appointment and while waiting can also help keep you in a positive mindset. As a bonus, you can even plan for something relaxing to do after your appointment so you have something to look forward to.

7. For financial-related anxiety, ask your dentist for a complete estimate of costs before your appointment.

Financial anxiety is a very common cause of general stress during dental appointments, especially for urgent treatment that couldn’t have been anticipated. We strive to make our dental services as affordable as possible and be transparent when it comes to providing a cost estimate prior to treatment.

Ask us for a treatment estimate before your next appointment so you can feel confident knowing what you’ll need to pay.

Bentz Dental Implant & Prosthodontic Center provides compassionate, gentle dental care for all of our patients.

The team at Bentz Dental is always excited to see our patients, but we are also very aware that many of our patients do feel some level of nervousness when seeing us. Our goal is to not only provide you with comprehensive dental care but to make sure you feel as comfortable as possible when you’re in our office.

When you’re ready to make your appointment, call our office or fill out this online form to book your visit. When you’re speaking with one of our staff about your appointment, let them know about your dental anxiety if you feel comfortable doing so.

retirement tips 10 tips for your best health and life as a retiree 62a2109a6fb16

Retirement Tips: 10 Tips for Your Best Health and Life as a Retiree

Living life to the fullest in retirement.

As of April 2020, there were 45.6 million retired workers receiving Social Security benefits. That amounts to almost 14% of the U.S. population.

If you’ve recently retired or are planning to soon, you’re in good company. You’ve worked hard and now it’s time to enjoy the fruits of your labor. But, retirement is not without its stressors. You’ll need to adjust to a different schedule while balancing your finances and discovering new interests.

Luckily, there are a few things you can do to stay happy and healthy in retirement. Read on for 10 retirement tips that can help you thrive in your golden years.

1. Create a routine.

Before retiring, you might have longed for leisurely mornings with nowhere to be. After all, you deserve some downtime and relaxation after 40 years of rushing off to work. As the weeks go by, all that downtime might make you feel aimless and anxious. A routine can bring structure back into your life. Your routine can be as simple as waking up and eating breakfast at the same time each day or going on a morning walk. It might take some time to discover what suits your new lifestyle, but you can always change your routine if it’s not working for you.

2. Find your purpose.

Your next task as a retiree is to find your life’s purpose outside of work. Without a career to focus on, it’s a great opportunity to come up with a new mission statement for your life. It’s the ideal time to discover what you’re truly passionate about. It could be volunteer work, spending time with your grandkids, gardening, or working on home projects. You’ll feel happier and more energetic when you feel a sense of purpose each day.

3. Eat a healthy diet.

You are what you eat! If you want to stay healthy and have lots of energy in retirement, you need to eat a healthy diet. That means lots of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats.

If you’re not used to cooking three meals a day at home, you can find a ton of delicious healthy-aging recipes online. If you enjoy what you eat, you’re less likely to make poor food choices. Just because you’re eating healthy doesn’t mean you can’t indulge every now and then, just enjoy in moderation.

4. Prioritize your dental health.

Dental health can affect everything from your self-esteem to your ability to enjoy food. That’s why it’s so important to take care of your mouth and teeth in retirement. It also has a major impact on your overall health; for example, gum disease can raise your risk of heart disease by 20%.

Whether you have a missing front tooth or there’s other dental work you’ve been putting off, retirement is a great time for dental function restoration. You’ll have a more flexible schedule and more time to recover. A smile makeover will also boost your confidence, which will make you feel happier and healthier.

5. Stay active and get regular exercise.

When you’re creating your retirement routine, make time for exercise. It will keep your muscles and bones strong and healthy. Plus, exercise is a great mood booster.

Try low impact exercise like walking, swimming, biking, or practicing yoga. If you have trouble staying motivated, consider joining a local gym or signing up for a fitness class. It’s also a great way to make new friends. If exercise hasn’t been a part of your life, retirement is the perfect time to form a new healthy habit.

6. Nurture your relationships and stay social.

When you’re busy with work, it’s easy to lose touch with friends and family members. Retirement is the perfect time to reconnect and even make new friends.

Our social lives aren’t just important for our emotional well-being, they’re vital to our overall health. In fact, living without social connections is just as bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

Whether it’s through a weekly phone call, a standing lunch date, or a book club, there are lots of ways to stay social.

7. Set goals for yourself.

During your working life, you probably had goals like getting a promotion or paying off your car loan. Just because you’re retired doesn’t mean you should stop setting goals. Setting goals gives you something to work towards and look forward to. Whether your goal is to plan your dream vacation, learn Italian, or renovate the kitchen, you’ll feel happier when you have a goal in mind.

8. Take care of preventive and maintenance health care.

With volunteer work, spending time with loved ones, and going on vacations, you might feel too busy to go to your regular checkup appointments. But, it’s important to make time for these wellness checks. Make sure to get regular dental cleanings and your yearly physicals. With up-to-date health records, your doctor will be able to catch problems early.

9. Address health issues when they come up.

If your doctor notices any health issues or you’re having symptoms, don’t brush them off. Minor problems can get worse if you don’t address them. Don’t ignore TMJ symptoms or TMJ pain, headaches, or back pain. Without treatment, they can lead to more pain and even permanent damage. You can often solve these pain problems holistically. Reach out to your dentist, massage therapist, or chiropractor for treatment.

10. Take time to enjoy life.

The key to a happy and healthy retirement is to enjoy the little things and stay positive. Retirement is a major milestone and you should celebrate your accomplishment. Enjoy the little things like a delicious meal, sharing laughter with friends, and relaxing in nature. Retirement is your time to thrive, relax, and find new purpose, and go on some fun adventures.

Include these retirement tips in your daily routine.

Retirement is a major life change, so it might take some time to adjust. Hopefully these retirement tips will give you some guidance in this new chapter of your life. Whether you’re looking for laser dentistry, dental implants, or complete restoration, Bentz Dental Implant and Prosthodontic Center can help. If you’re in the Philadelphia area, request an appointment with us today.

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How to Improve Your Outlook on Life

Transforming your life by changing your outlook.

“Age is just a number.” You’ve likely heard—and perhaps scoffed at—this saying dozens of times over the years. Despite what your joints might be telling you, there’s actually truth to it; you can’t stop the aging process, but much of aging is related to your mindset. Improving your outlook on life can impact every area of your life, from your attitude and relationships to the health of your mind and body. Changing your outlook does take work, but it can help you feel younger and live a happier, healthier, and even longer life. Here are practical ways you can improve your outlook on life.

Get plenty of sleep.

Start each day right by getting between seven and nine hours of sleep every night. This may sound like a small action, but how much sleep you’re getting impacts your body on very real physical and mental levels. When you don’t get enough sleep, you’re more likely to be on edge, grumpy, and even depressed while struggling to feel empathetic, friendly, or happy. In contrast, getting enough sleep can help get your day off to a positive start, framing your interactions with people in a better light and helping you feel friendlier. So it’s worth it to shuffle your schedule around a little bit to ensure you’re getting enough sleep.

Maintain positive social connections.

Staying connected to other people has a surprisingly massive impact on your physical and emotional health—and never more so than now. Feeling socially isolated can cause feelings of anxiety and depression; one study even found that it’s more dangerous to your health than high blood pressure, obesity, and smoking. People who feel connected and supported by a healthy social group, however, benefit from a positive sense of well-being and a 50% increased chance of longevity.

Do your best to build and stay connected to a social group. This keeps you actively engaged in life instead of feeling like it’s passing you by. No matter how old or experienced you are, you still need a support system you can laugh with, confide in, and go to for help or advice. If your loved ones live far away, and while social distancing is in place, plan regular video chats with them so you can see their faces.

Take good care of your body.

Do your best to take good care of your body by eating a healthy diet, practicing good oral hygiene to care for your natural teeth and implants, and exercising for about 30 minutes every day. These positive lifestyle choices will keep you healthy, preventing the negativity that health issues can cause, and will actively help you feel more positive. For example, exercising lowers the levels of stress hormones in your blood and triggers the release of endorphins, which leaves you feeling relaxed and happy. Regular exercise also helps you sleep better and feel more energetic, all of which will boost your positivity levels. If you struggle with issues like joint pain, you can practice gentle forms of exercise like swimming, yoga, or even simply walking through one of the beautiful parks Philadelphia has to offer.

Replace negativity with gratitude.

It’s natural to complain every once in a while, but do your best to limit how often you do. Complaining frequently can be a sign of a negative outlook, but it can also worsen that outlook because it centers your attention on the negative aspects of your life. Instead, be intentional about focusing on the positive and practicing gratitude. One way you can do this is to start a gratitude journal, where you write a few things you’re grateful for at the end of every day. This doubles as a great way for you to look back on each year and remember acts of kindness that you may have otherwise forgotten. While this might feel difficult or strange at first, being intentional about positivity and gratitude can actually retrain your brain to think positively first, improving your overall outlook on life.

Find a purpose and give back to others.

Whether you’re still working or retired, finding a purpose is essential to improving your outlook on life—your purpose is what gets you out of bed in the morning, ready and excited for a new day. It can be a desire to travel, caring for your grandchildren, increasing your skill in a hobby, or volunteering; whatever it is, it should make you feel happy and fulfilled. Giving back to others through volunteer work is a common purpose, especially once people have retired. While it doesn’t need to be your purpose, it’s still worth doing. When you give back to others, you’re not just helping other people—you’re also improving your own outlook on life. Studies have repeatedly shown that serving others gives you a surge of happiness, lowers your stress levels, increases your satisfaction with your life, and even improves your physical health.

Let loose and have some fun.

Have you ever noticed that having a good laugh leaves you feeling content and relaxed? That’s because laughing activates and relieves your stress response, helping to replace feelings of anxiety and depression with happiness. So letting loose and having fun is good for you—physically and mentally! While everyone’s movements are restricted at the moment, you can still organise a group Zoom call with family, play a remote group board game like scribble.io, or even sync your Netflix so you can watch movies with friends.

It’s easy to slip into a negative mindset. Putting in the work to rebuild your positivity and care for your body and mind alike can make a huge difference in your daily life. Since the health of your body and mind are so connected, forming these habits can help you live a longer, happier, and healthier life.

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How to Set Yourself up for Success in a Post-Pandemic World

Despite the circumstances, you success is within your reach!

Has your daily routine changed dramatically over the last few weeks?

Maybe you’re used to working in an office every day, and you’re suddenly logging into video calls from your living room. Or perhaps your job was temporarily put on hold as your company grapples with the economic effects of social distancing. You might have even lost your job amid the current crisis.

Either way, there are plenty of ways to use this setback to set yourself up for success.

Today, we’re sharing a few ways to stay calm, recenter, and emerge from this challenge stronger and more ready for success than ever before.

Grow your skill set.

Now is a great time to build your resume!

Is there a skill you’ve always wanted to learn but never had the time to? There are plenty of free or reduced-cost resources that are making it easier than ever before to grow personally and professionally.

Hop online and search for your topic of interest on sites like Lynda, Udemy or edX. From coding to fashion design, there’s course material for every kind of subject under the sun.

Use this time at home to dive deep into your industry and pursue advanced certificates that could make you valuable to future employers, or discover something radically different than you’ve done in the past! Either way, don’t pass up this opportunity to grow.

Fine-tune your resume.

When’s the last time you looked at your resume? Especially if you’ve been employed for a while, it’s likely been longer than you think.

Go through and update it, adding in your most recent responsibilities, along with any new qualifications you’ve earned along the way.

If you’re an entrepreneur, your resume might not require as much adjusting. In this case, work on your elevator pitch. This is the 30-second synopsis of your product idea that you can use to pique the interest of customers, partners, and investors. These tips can help you craft one that compels!

Create a goal map to set yourself up for success.

We don’t have to stop daydreaming just because we grow up.

This is an ideal time to reflect on where you’ve been and plan your dreams for the future. With this blank slate in front of you, what do your next steps look like?

Start by considering where you’d like to be in three months. Then, expand it from there. What do your life and career look like one year from now? What about five years?

Sketch or doodle your biggest, boldest ideas and dare to break them down into small, achievable steps.

Take advantage of online webinars.

It isn’t hard to find thousands of examples of people pitching in and helping out during this crisis. For many, this means taking to the internet to share their gifts and talents with the world, free of charge.

One resource to tap into? Free online business webinars.

Career experts are hopping online in droves, offering their sound advice on ways to navigate these next few months to position yourself for success. In just a few clicks, you can learn helpful tips on ways to manage your career, run an online meeting, and even work from home with young kids.

If you can’t make the live meetings, most recordings are available to stream afterward on your own time. Check out these webinars from SCORE to get started.

While you’re at it, why not practice your own webinar skills? This post shows you how to be an excellent online host.

Discover your true passion.

The silver lining with any job obstacle is that it gives you the opportunity to redirect your path. There’s a chance you might have stayed in your current position for years, feeling burnt out and unfulfilled. Now, you have the chance to chart a new course.

What are you really passionate about? If it’s your current field, that’s wonderful! Dive into it and learn as much as possible during your hiatus. If it isn’t, use this time to discover what really brings you alive.

Start by considering what you talk about the most. This is usually a strong indicator of where your interests lie! Maybe you excel in project planning or helping teams grow. Perhaps you’re strongest in a sales role, or you might be a behind-the-scenes technical wizard.

Maybe you have no idea and need a little help. These career-focused tests and quizzes can help you uncover years of uncertainty to reveal your true calling.

Find inspiration for success between the pages.

Did your company require your team to read Who Moved My Cheese years ago? If you said you read it but never did, now’s a great time to download the Audible version.

In this season of slowness, many people are rediscovering their love of reading. You can do the same and help your career at the same time by focusing on self-growth books designed to inspire and motivate you to professional greatness.

A few of our recent favorites include:

  • Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brené Brown
  • Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
  • The Proximity Principle: The Proven Strategy That Will Lead to a Career You Love by Ken Coleman
  • Failing Up: How to Take Risks, Aim Higher, and Never Stop Learning by Leslie Odom, Jr.
  • The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg

Rest your mind and body.

Amid all of the job searching and professional development, don’t forget to rest! Spending hours a day frantically clicking online will only exacerbate any stress you’re already feeling. As you make a plan, take advantage of this unexpected break and indulge in all the rest you can.

Need a little help prying your eyes from the screen? Set a timer and actually pencil downtime into your schedule. For 10 minutes, look outside at nature and just be still. Watch the clouds change shape or a bird perched on the feeder nearby, allowing your thoughts to wander anywhere but to the office.

If you want to meditate during this time, use an app like Calm or Headspace to guide you in short meditations. These apps also have soothing music that can make it easier to fall asleep and wake up refreshed.

As you take time to be quiet, you can also pray, listen to soft music, or simply sit and enjoy the stillness. If you’re feeling sleep-deprived, take 15 to 20 minutes for a short power nap!

Create a Plan B.

Part of the anxiety you might be feeling is fear of the unknown.

As you dig deep into growing in your current role, it’s also helpful to create a Plan B. Essentially serving as a worst-case scenario, this plan might be unpleasant to think about at first, but it can be a surprising source of comfort.

Knowing that you have a back-up plan in place gives you even more peace in your day-to-day work. This can fuel a lifetime of positive thinking and position you to return to work stronger and more capable than before.

Setback or setup? You hold the power to write your success story.

There’s no denying the impact recent events have had on careers around the world.

If yours was negatively impacted, take heart. Setbacks occur in our lives for a reason, and there’s always a silver lining at the worst of times. One of our favorite sayings is, “There is no great loss without some small gain.” Your loss may merely be the loss of a familiar routine, or it may be as great as the loss of job security. Try to find the silver linings in those losses, however painful, and move in the direction the universe is nudging you in with confidence in your self-worth.

There’s never been a better time to take a deep breath, connect, and learn. This can be the first step toward the career you always envisioned for yourself or toward greater visibility at your current place of employment, so don’t be afraid to take it.

Need to talk to our office during this time? We’re here and ready to connect.

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10 Tips for Self-Care to Help Relieve Stress & Support Your Health

Take advantage of these stress-relieving self-care tips today.

It’s no secret that our lives have been upended lately.

We’re all working to adjust to a new normal where “social distancing” and “quarantine” are household words. Your world got a lot smaller a few weeks ago, and the change can bring about both social and physical stress.

While it’s important to implement self-care of our minds and bodies all of the time, it’s especially critical during times of heightened anxiety, like the ones we’re walking through right now.

Today, we’re sharing 10 tips for self-care that can help boost your mood, strengthen your immune system, and help you navigate the coming days with clarity and fortitude.

1. Feed your body well.

Quarantine snacks are real, and they are necessary!

That said, resist the urge to reach into the bag of potato chips every time you get a craving. Good nutrition is essential for a healthy immune system, and you need yours to be as strong as possible right now.

If there was ever a time to get creative in the kitchen, this is it!

Using the ingredients you have on hand, see what kind of nutritious meals you can come up with on the fly. If you need a little inspiration, some of your favorite restaurants and celebrity chefs are dishing up easy, make-at-home recipes to get you through this time!

2. Get enough sleep.

Your schedule might have cleared up significantly, but this isn’t the time to burn the candle at both ends.

During this trying time, you need more sleep than ever. While you doze, your body is hard at work, repairing your muscles, organs, and other cells. If you aren’t getting the recommended seven hours minimum, it can be tougher to bounce back if you do get sick.

Find yourself tossing and turning more these days? Stress-induced insomnia could be to blame. These tips, which include ditching the evening coffee and turning down the A/C, can help you drift off more easily.

3. Soak up the sun.

You might be stuck at home, but in most cases, you don’t have to stay indoors. When you need a mental break, go outside and soak up some vitamin D.

Take a stroll around the backyard, take the kids on a scavenger hunt, or bring lunch outside for a change. Whatever you do, use this time to connect with nature and give your eyes a break from the screen. Exposure to sunlight can trigger your brain to release serotonin, the feel-good hormone!

4. Try an at-home workout.

Gyms around the world are temporarily shutting their doors, but you can still get your sweat on at home. For a daily reminder to get moving, download a fitness app! A few of our favorites include:

All of these offer guided workouts designed for any skill level. In addition, many brick-and-mortar gyms are now offering virtual workout classes for free! A few of the top ones to check out include:

5. Draw a relaxing bath

Is there anything a good soak can’t fix? When the weight of the world is weighing heavy on your shoulders, sometimes the best solution is to dim the lights, play some soft music, and sink to your chin in a warm bath full of bubbles.

While we know they feel great, researchers show that there’s a scientific reason why baths are so relaxing. The warm water increases blood flow to your skin, improves lung capacity, and loosens your muscles. Draw one tonight and wash the worries away.

6. Declutter your space.

Take advantage of your new free time by organizing your home and getting rid of any extra clutter. While the idea of tackling this chore can seem overwhelming, remember there is no rush.

Keep it simple and try to clean one room per day. If you find anything you don’t need or use, decide whether to toss or recycle it. When you take it slow and approach it meaningfully, this exercise can be a therapeutic one, bringing peace and tranquility to your environment.

7. Practice mindful meditation.

Chances are your mind has been racing in a million different directions lately. There are certainly plenty of things to think about!

With mindful meditation, you can finally let it rest a little. This is the practice of focusing fully on the present, being acutely aware of everything you experience with your five senses. When performed for as little as 10 minutes, it can be like pressing the “reset” button on your day and mood.

You can meditate from any quiet place at any time. If you need a little help, apps like Calm and Headspace are filled with thousands of guided exercises. You can also use this time alone to pray, journal, or listen to soft music.

8. Exercise lightly.

You don’t have to emerge from self-quarantine ready to run a marathon or try out for the Olympics. This isn’t a time to push your body to the extreme but, rather, a season to nourish it.

That said, seek to move for at least 30 minutes per day.

Find a light exercise you love, and it won’t feel like working out. This might mean dance parties in the kitchen, walks around the neighborhood, or backyard soccer games with the kids. Get your heart rate going, your blood pumping, and your spirits up.

9. Stay in touch.

Social connection is a major part of self-care. If you’re feeling isolated, don’t hesitate to reach out to your friends and family members.

Though physical distance might separate us, modern technology means we’re never more than a click away from the faces and voices of those we love. Hop on FaceTime and chat with your grandparents, schedule a Zoom meeting with your co-workers, or Skype your best friend in your pajamas.

Technology might get a little burdensome at times, but in this case, it’s a major blessing.

10. Schedule video therapy.

Taking care of your mental health is paramount, especially when you’re in the midst of a crisis. Understanding this, don’t be afraid to reach out to a professional therapist if you need a little help adjusting right now.

Whether you visit one regularly or this is your first time, you can connect in seconds to a virtual provider ready to listen and share advice on ways to care for yourself. There are also myriad therapy apps available to help, offering everything from text-based support to professional online counseling.

Practice these tips for self-care today.

It’s natural to crave connection, harmony, and a healthy dose of normalcy right now.

While we all learn to adjust and lean on one another from afar, remember to listen to and respect your personal needs. These tips for self-care can help restore your sanity, renew your mind, and reset your mood.

If you need anything from our office during this time, don’t hesitate to contact us.

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Uplifting Books That Will Bring Comfort During Hard Times

Books have the power to uplift us during this challenging time.

As we reached the end of March, the government, following the CDC’s recommendations for flattening the curve, decided we should continue to stay at home as much as possible until the end of April.

This is a stressful time, and many of us are finding ourselves with more time on our hands than we know what to do with! That’s why the team at Bentz Dental has come up with a list of uplifting books to improve your spirits.

Bibliotherapy is a form of therapy that relies on reading to support positive mental health. While reading any book can help calm the mind and promote relaxation, uplifting books in particular can be a great way to go right now.

Read on to find out which books you should add to your shelves or your e-reader today!

Books That Make Us Laugh

Sometimes the best way to break the emotional cycle of stress and negativity is to have a good laugh!

David Sedaris’s book, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, is hilariously funny. Over the course of 22 essays, he covers topics from getting locked out in the snow by his own mother to the traditional Dutch Christmas story.

If you’re looking for a work of fiction that will crack you up, consider Douglas Adams’ novel, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. It follows a man named Arthur Dent as he learns a new way of life in outer space and gets into all sorts of side-splitting mishaps along the way.

Books That Teach Compassion and Empathy

In times like these, it’s easy to become focused on our own problems and our own families. These books will remind us to look outside of ourselves and feel compassion toward those who are also suffering.

In Anne Lamott’s short work of nonfiction, Hallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy, she refers to mercy as “radical kindness.” Lamott does her best to teach us how to forgive ourselves and others and create a better world along the way.

Toni Morrison’s debut novel, The Bluest Eye, is as tragic as it is beautiful. Morrison allows us to learn more about the struggles accompanying racial and class lines through the eyes of young girls. You are guaranteed to finish this novel with a renewed sense of compassion.

Books That Bring Us Hope

It’s important we remember that even in our darkest hours, there are reasons to remain hopeful. These books are guaranteed to refresh your feelings of hopefulness and even joy.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith follows an impoverished young girl through early 20th-century Brooklyn. Though her life is filled with setbacks, she, like the Tree of Heaven that continues to grow in spite of its hardened surroundings, does not lose hope.

Ross Gay’s The Book of Delights is a short piece comprised of the poet’s own “essayettes” about the things he finds delightful. This book will bring a smile to your face while teaching you how to find delight in even the smallest things.

Books That Give Practical Tips for Coping in a Crisis

Sometimes the best way to cope with a crisis is to confront it directly. These books don’t shy away from the subject of difficult times but, rather, embrace them and teach us how to grow from times of crisis.

The Obstacle Is the Way by Ryan Holiday renews the Roman philosophy of stoicism in a way that feels accessible—and necessary—in the modern day. He teaches us that it is not the obstacles in life that define us, but instead, it is the way we respond to them. Challenges are unavoidable, but we can learn to persevere in the face of hardship with the help of this book.

Brené Brown’s book, Rising Strong, starts from a place in which adversity has already occurred. Brown’s goal is not to teach us how to avoid failure or pain but how to get back up when these hard moments in our lives have overcome us. She covers painful human experiences from loss to shame and presents us with powerful coping mechanisms to push through any crisis.

Books That Increase Our Faith in Humanity

Due to social distancing and hard-to-stomach, 24-hour news stories, we may feel a little bit distant from others right now. Reading is a great way to reconnect with humanity as a whole and remind ourselves that when people do good things, they have a huge impact on the world.

If you haven’t picked up Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird since high school English class (or ever), now is the time to give this book a read. Set in 1930s rural Alabama, we follow young Scout’s awakening to the prejudices that harm the people around her. Fortunately for her and for us, her father, Atticus, provides a moral light that reminds us that we have the power to make a difference.

The Power of Kindness by Piero Ferrucci is a nonfiction work that will remind you that you have the power to make a difference. His work focuses on the positive transaction that occurs when one commits an act of kindness: It betters the world around them and fills their life with joy and tranquility. Ferrucci reminds us that making the world a better place isn’t as hard as we think.

Fill your shelves with uplifting books.

In times of high stress, it’s important to have a stack of uplifting books to reach for. We hope we’ve inspired you to employ some bibliotherapy and get to reading!

In case of a dental emergency, we are still available to help! Go to our contact page and call the phone number at the bottom of the screen.

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TEAM DARK CHOCOLATE

Valentine’s Day is the holiday to celebrate all the treasured relationships in your life. It’s a time to honor love in all shapes and forms with cards, social gatherings, and sometimes even binge eating of sweets.

It’s hard to look the other way when grocery stores and pharmacies are invaded with goodies connected to the Valentine’s Day theme, and especially if you’re on the receiving end of some of these sweets. We get it. In fact, we’re all for it!

However, we also support a cavity-free smile. So in the interest of your dental and general health, and because we think it’s genuinely tasty, Dr. Bentz recommends an alternative to the Valentine treats you may be accustomed to: dark chocolate.

Yes, Healthy Chocolate Exists

Studies have shown that dark chocolate is high in flavonoids, an ingredient found in the cocoa beans used to make chocolate. Flavonoids can help protect the body against toxins, reduce blood pressure, and improve blood flow to the heart and brain.

By opting for dark chocolate rather than milk chocolate, you get to reap these benefits! Pretty sweet, right? Just make sure to stick to high-quality dark chocolates that have undergone minimal processing.

Dark Chocolate, AKA Protector of Teeth

Not only does dark chocolate provide some nice benefits for your overall health, it also helps protect your teeth against cavities! According to the Texas A&M Health Science Center, dark chocolate contains high amounts of tannins, another ingredient present in cocoa beans.

Tannins can actually help prevent cavities by interfering with the bacteria that causes them. Think of them as scarecrows for bacteria. They don’t always prevail, but isn’t it nice to have them there?

Smooth Never Sticky

Unlike many popular candies, dark chocolate is less likely to stick in the crevices of your teeth. Chewy, gooey sweets are more likely to hang around in your mouth for longer periods of time, which means they raise the odds of your harboring cavity-creating bacteria.

While some dark chocolates have additives like caramel or marshmallow, it’s best to opt for the plain varieties, which are just as delicious. If you’re feeling festive, though, a dark chocolate with caramel is still better than a milk chocolate with caramel, so that’s the way to go!

While dark chocolate has some pretty sweet benefits, the most important thing to remember (whether you go the dark chocolate route or not), is that moderation is key. That being said, we hope you have fun satisfying your sweet tooth and shopping for treats for your friends and loved ones. Happy Valentine’s Day from all of us at Bentz Dental Implant and Prosthodontic Center!

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