World Oral Health Day: Five things you should know about THE POWER OF A SMILE!

To mark World Oral Health Day 2016 on Sunday 20 March the British Dental Health Foundation want to make sure everybody understands the enormous power that lies behind a smile.

We want you to take a moment and think about how a simple smile can be one of the most powerful tools at our disposal… and we all have one.

So to help everyone understand the power of a smile we have put together some of our favourite facts about smiles:

  • Charles Darwin who was one of the first to really look at the power of a smile. He noted that smiling is truly universal, unlike other physical actions such as body language, or verbal communication, which differs from culture-to-culture, we all understand a smile and the feelings behind it.
  • Smiles are hugely infectious.  So even if we don't feel much happier straight away, by smiling the people around us are more likely to smile, and that can then improve our mood as well.
  • A smile can really have a big effect our relationships.  More than half of people make a smile one of the first things that people notice about others and one of the most attractive features people can have.
  • A smile can also benefit our professional life too. A smile is seen as friendly and trustworthy; interviewers are likely to find candidates far more appealing if they go for a job interview with smile on their face.
  • It really is easier to smile too. I am sure you would have heard that it takes less muscles to smile than frown, this really is true 43 to frown and only 17 to smile!

World Oral Health Day is an excellent opportunity to let you know about the power of smile and discuss how important vitally oral health can be to our confidence, happiness and health.

You may have heard recent press about the amount of children with oral health problems. New statistics revealed more than 33,000 children were admitted to hospital for tooth extractions under general anaesthetic in the last year alone.

We cannot let poor oral health stop our children from smiling!

It's important that we are all aware of the correct way to look after our oral health to make sure maintain our smiles.

Looking after our smile should be quite simple, if you make sure you follow our three key messages:

  • Brush your teeth last thing at night and on at least one other occasion with a fluoride toothpaste.
  • Cut down on how often you have sugary foods and drinks.
  • Visit your dentist regularly, as often as they recommend.

Try to share a smile, not just on World Oral Health Day but every day, and bring a bit of happiness to those around you.

World Oral Health Day is celebrated every year on 20 March. It is an international day to celebrate the benefits of a healthy mouth and to promote worldwide awareness of the issues around oral health and the importance of oral hygiene to looking after everyone old and young.

It is a day for us to have fun – this should be a day full of activities that make us laugh, sing and smile!

To find out more about World Oral Health Day visit www.worldoralhealthday.com

Recognizing Depression among Health Care Practitioners

Stress is a common occurrence in everyday lives. Whether it is running late for work because of unforeseen circumstances, trying to find time to practice healthy habits, or not being able to take a break from your hectic schedule, stressors are difficult to avoid. While some form of stress is healthy and even necessary to help us perform and react during times of crisis, prolonged and excessive stress can have damaging effects, leading to burnout or depression.

Those within the health care industry often joined their profession to find compassion and satisfaction from helping others. While that is frequently the case, it’s no surprise that at one time or another, health care professionals find themselves working under significant stress. While all health care practitioners can be at risk for burnout as a result of work, those who care for seriously ill patients face a higher risk for diminished personal wellbeing, burnout, moral distress and compassion fatigue. In addition, those caring for terminally ill patients often don’t recognize the personal emotional toll it takes, and these unexamined emotions could lead to professional loneliness, loss of professional sense of meaning, loss of clarity about the goals of medicine, cynicism, hopelessness, helplessness, frustration, anger about the health care system, loss of sense of patients as human beings, increased risk of burnout, and depression.

The problem is that depression doesn’t show up on an X-Ray or an MRI and can oftentimes be difficult to detect. So how do we know where healthy stress ends and overload begins? Every person experiences moments of sadness or struggle, however depression is more than just sadness. People with depression may experience a lack of interest and pleasure in daily activities, significant weight loss or gain, insomnia or excessive sleeping, lack of energy, inability to concentrate, feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt and recurrent thoughts of death or suicide. As health care professionals it is critical to recognize and be aware of these symptoms, both in our personal and professional settings. Failure to recognize these symptoms could not only adversely affect your patients’ lives, but your own as well.

Fortunately, there are ways to manage stress to prevent burnout through self-care strategies. Self-care strategies begin with the recognition that people have multiple personal dimensions to attend to in order to live a good or happy life. These dimensions include family, work, community and spirituality. Strategies for personal self-care include prioritizing close relationships such as those with family; maintaining a healthy lifestyle by ensuring adequate sleep, regular exercise, and time for vacations; fostering recreational activities and hobbies; practicing mindfulness and meditation; and pursuing spiritual development. Another strategy is that of positive psychology. Positive psychology focuses on utilizing traits such as kindness, optimism, generosity, gratitude and humor. Not only will utilizing these traits lead to a happier self, they also help to build personal resilience and buffer stress.

While self-care strategies serve as important tools, it may also be helpful to meet with your primary care provider who can determine whether you can benefit from a referral to mental health specialist.