Top Ten Reasons to Save Your Teeth

Top Ten Reasons to Save Your Teeth

Save Your Teeth

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1. Eating

This is what teeth were made for.  Eating is never the same with dentures.  As Dr. John Udouj use to say:  Dentures are not a substitute for teeth; they’re a substitute for no teeth.

2. Smiling

Uh… smiling with no teeth is not so pretty.

3. Speaking

There are many sounds that the mouth makes using the teeth.  The teeth also maintain a nice vault for a good tone in speaking or singing.

4. Maintaining the FaceSave Your Teeth

Without teeth, the bones of the jaws don’t have much reason to stay around.  As the bones shrink, the nose and chin become closer together, the lips collapse, and the face suffers.

5. Digesting

Chewing is the first step in digestion.  Don’t let your stomach wonder what happened up there.

6. Maintaining Bone

Jaw bones shrink without teeth and can become so thin that they are prone to fracture and difficult to construct dentures upon.

7. Avoiding Dentures

Believe me, if you think getting rid of teeth is getting rid of problems, then try dentures.  That’s when the real problems begin.

8. Maintaining Space

When a tooth is removed, the others shift to try to fill in the space.  Problem is they don’t do this in a nice, orderly fashion.  The teeth will tilt and turn and super-erupt and generally mess up the bite.  This shifting creates hiding places for plaque to build up causing cavities and gum disease

9. Saving Money

Replacing teeth many times ends up more expensive than saving the tooth in the first place.

10. Avoiding Trouble

All the above troubles can be avoided by maintaining teeth with good oral hygiene, a good diet, and regular check-ups.  Don’t believe us?  Ask your teeth.

Top Ten Orchestral Masterpieces

Top Ten Orchestral Masterpieces

Well, I couldn’t keep it down to just ten.  Pick your own from these 25 and we’ll discuss it.

1. Bach, J.S.:   Brandenburg Concerto #3 in G Major, BWV 1048

This great Baroque master had 20 children, and he was a professional musician.  He had to be great not to be a broke Baroque.  You saw that bad pun coming, didn’t you?

Orchestral Masterpieces

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2. Beethoven:  Symphony #9 in D Minor, Opus 125, Choral

Beethoven was deaf when he wrote this greatest and most revolutionary of symphonies.  At the end of the premier, the concertmaster had to turn Beethoven around to see the applause.

3. Bizet:  Carmen Suites #1 & #2

A French composer that wrote the quintessential Spanish opera.  Go figure.  These orchestral-only suites are rich with themes you’ve heard anywhere from commercials and films to Bugs Bunny.

4. Brahms:  Concerto in D Major for Violin & Orchestra, Opus 77

Brahms wrote only one violin concerto, but what a masterpiece.

5. Chopin:  Concerto #1 in E Minor for Piano & Orchestra, Opus 11

Chopin composed mostly for piano alone, but this concerto embodies the early Romantic period of music perfectly.  The second movement always reminds me of my late wife Dona.

6.  Dukas:  The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Scherzo after a ballad by Goethe

Well, you’ve seen Mickey Mouse be the Sorcerer’s Apprentice in Fantasia.  Now, just sit back and enjoy the music by itself, a masterful work of orchestral painting.

7. Dvorak:  Symphony #9 in E Minor, Opus 95, From the New World

This Czech composer expertly summarized America in this, his last symphony.  Listen for the tune “Coming Home” in the second movement.  The scherzo directly following is amazing, racing on toward the last movement and the symphony’s brilliant finale.  I used the scherzo as a test when purchasing a stereo system.  Heads turned at its power.

8. Gershwin:  Rhapsody in Blue

Now for an American composer.  Gershwin expertly fused classical with jazz in his most familiar work for piano and orchestra.

9. Grieg:  Peer Gynt Suites #1, Opus 46, & #2, Opus 55

This great Norwegian composer wrote incidental music for Ibsen’s fantastic play Peer Gynt.  Grieg culled eight pieces from his music into these two exotic suites invoking a sense of Scandinavian myth and drama.

10. Handel:  Water Music

Like Bach, another Baroque composer of German origin.  Handel ended up plying his trade for the English Court.  He composed this piece for entertaining the royals as they lounged about on the royal barge.  They didn’t have CD players or i-tunes then.

11. Haydn:  Symphony #92 in G Major, Oxford

Another German writing for the English.  This symphony comes between the set of six symphonies called the Paris Symphonies and his last symphonies, a set of twelve called the London Symphonies.  I like this one as a perfect example of the Classic symphony.

12. Holst:  The Planets, Opus 32

Orchestral Masterpieces

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Before Star Wars and Star Trek with their instantly familiar themes, this English composer had written the inspiration for it all in this seven movement impression of the solar system.  Absolutely fantastic!  O, and by the way, he composed it before Pluto was discovered and subsequently rejected as a planet.

13. Khachaturian:  Sabre Dance from Gayaneh

This Armenian composer wrote several ballets.  The Sabre Dance is extremely manic.  Try dancing to this… and with a sword!  No don’t, just listen.

14. Mendelssohn:  The Hebrides Overture, Opus 26, Fingal’s Cave

You may recognize this from a Looney Tune.  Mendelssohn took a vacation to Scotland and wrote a symphony and this overture.  I like it.

15. Mozart:  Serenade #13 in G Major, K. 525, Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (A Little Night Music)

This strings-only work epitomizes the masterful way Mozart had of capturing perfection in music.  Yes, he was a genius.

16. Prokofiev:  Peter & the Wolf, Opus 67, A Musical Tale for Children

This piece gives a great overview of the orchestra in a fun and accessible way.

17. Rachmaninoff:  Concerto #2 in C Minor for Piano & Orchestra, Opus 18

Rachmaninoff wrote this greatest of all piano concertos after being treated for depression brought on by the failure of his first symphony.  He dedicated the concerto to his doctor who had used hypnotism in his treatment.  Whatever, this music is without equal from the first somber chords of the first movement through the unbelievably beautiful second movement to the last bar of the thrilling third movement.

18. Ravel:  Bolero

Ravel takes one musical idea and repeats it over and over adding more and more instruments to build an exotic and sensual take-off on a classic Spanish dance.  Just like Bizet, another Frenchman writing fantastic Spanish music.

19: Rossini:  Overture to Il barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville)

O, you’ll know this from Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd.

20. Schubert:  Symphony #9 in C Major, D 944, Great C Major

Schubert died in obscurity, but his music was rediscovered after his death.  Mendelssohn tried to premier this in London, but the first violins scoffed at the last movement.  Exasperated he withdrew it.  Listening to this breathtaking symphony makes you realize how small the London players were thinking.  Another thing, don’t get bogged down in trying to figure out the numbering of Schubert’s symphonies.  Look for the Great C Major.

21. Sibelius:  Finlandia, Opus 26

Sibelius was a Finnish composer.  When he wrote this, Finland was occupied by Russia.  The piece became a symbol of the indomitable Finnish spirit.  I frequently listen to Sibelius only for weeks at a time.

22. Strauss, Johann II:  Overture to Die Fledermaus (The Bat)

You can hear even in this operetta overture why Strauss was called “The Waltz King.”  It’s said even Brahms envied his waltz writing.

Orchestral Masterpieces

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23. Tchaikovsky:  The Nutcracker, Opus 71

Tchaikovsky didn’t like his third and last ballet, but beyond its status as a classical warhorse, this ballet music reveals Tchaikovsky’s musical genius in more subtlety and grace than the equally famous 1812 Overture.

24. Vivaldi:  The Four Seasons, The Contest between Harmony & Invention, Opus 8

A Baroque composer from Venice and a teacher at a music school for orphaned girls, Vivaldi wrote this set of four short concertos for violin and orchestra to invoke the seasons.  He nailed them.

25. Wagner:  The Ride of the Valkyries from Die Walkure (The Valkyries)

Inspired by Norse mythology, Wagner wrote four massive operas called The Ring Cycle, long before Tolkien’s The Lord of the Ring.  In this third opera, he has the classic goddesses in horned helmets ride out of the heavens accompanied to this exhilarating music.  Bugs and Elmer acted out this one, too.

Top Ten Healthy Foods

Top Ten Healthy Foods

1.  Water

Healthy Foods

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Drink some plain water.  It won’t kill you.

2. Green Beans

Fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants.  Green beans are praised for all these.  Sauté in olive oil or blanch for full flavor and nutrition.  Don’t overcook or add bacon grease; this defeats the purpose.

3. Broccoli

You knew it was coming.  Broccoli is like the miracle food.  Don’t overcook until it becomes limp and loses its flavor.  Eat raw or enjoy in casseroles.

Healthy Foods

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4. Blueberries

Foods rich in color, whether vegetables or fruits, are rich in antioxidants that help us stay healthy.  Blueberries can be eaten in salads, muffins, desserts, or by themselves.  Try these when you are having a sweet attack.

5. Oats

I’m the first one to say oatmeal is blah.  But try adding raw oats to yogurt with some fruit and a bit of sweetener; it’s like a superpower breakfast.  Also, oats make a great basis for muffins and cookies.

6. Tea

Healthy Foods

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Can’t go without my tea!  Green and black teas, whether hot or iced, are great sources of antioxidants.  Don’t foul up the works with a load of sugars.  A good tea well brewed can stand on its own.  Our hygienist will polish off any stain at your check-up.

7. Olive Oil

This monounsaturated oil is an essential to all those Mediterranean diets that are so beneficial for you.  Use in cooking or on Italian bread as a substitute for butter.

8. Fish

Here’s a meat.  Cold-water fish are a rich source of omega-3 that helps keep hearts healthy.

9. Grapefruit Juice

Grapefruit juice will help control cholesterol.  However, if you’re taking cholesterol medicine, you may need to avoid grapefruit juice as it can interfere with or augment the medicine’s effect.

10. A Small Treat

You’ll be more likely to stay on a healthy diet if you allow yourself a small treat every now and then.  But don’t binge; that’s no good.  As you eat healthier, you’ll find too many treats drag you down.

Top Ten Good Things for Your Teeth

Top Ten Good Things for Your Teeth

Your Teeth

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1. Brush

Brushing two to three times a day helps keep teeth and gums healthy, prevents and slows down diseases of tooth decay and gum inflammation, freshens the breath, and, as studies are showing, maintains a healthier body.

2. Floss

Well, you knew this was coming.  Floss gets into the places the toothbrush cannot, and visa versa.  Together, the brush and floss are a formidable team against bacteria that attack teeth and gums.  Floss once a day.  Look into my Dental Blog for instructions on how to floss properly.  Yes, Freddy, there is a proper way to floss.  By the way, only floss the teeth you want to keep.  The rest, let’m rot.  (You realize of course, this is irony.)

3. Fluoride

Fluoride has been proven in study after study for more than a century to be an effective deterrent to tooth decay.  In the years of tooth formation (birth to 15 or 16), fluoride vitamins or fluoridated water is encouraged for a lifetime of strong teeth.  The toothbuds are able to take the fluoride, given in the proper dose, and incorporate it into the developing tooth structure.  The fluoride then makes the minerals of the teeth quite resistant to bacterial acids that threaten to dissolve away the enamel and dentin.  Fluoridated toothpaste applies this resistance to the surface of the teeth after tooth eruption.  Please see my Dental Blog for the proper dose of fluoride vitamins during childhood and the age-appropriate amount of toothpaste to use.

Your Teeth

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4. Regular Check-ups

Regular check-ups attempt to head off any problems before they become worse, maintain healthy gums, remove tartar buildup, polish off stains, and reinvigorate your daily oral hygiene.  Go team!

5. A Dentist

Sometimes teeth just need a dentist.  Life’s not perfect and things happen.  The car needs a mechanic, the kid needs a tutor, the marriage needs a second honeymoon, the appendix needs a surgeon.  Well, the same: The mouth needs a dentist from time to time to be restored to health, function, and beauty and to keep problems from spreading to other parts of the body.

6. A Hygienist

This is the person in your corner, cheering and cajoling you to dental health, an integral part of your dental team.  Go back and review Regular Check-ups.

7. Low-Sugar Diet

A body’s got to eat something.  Problem is that our high-sugar diet ruins our teeth.  Look for healthy and delicious snacks of fruit or raw veggies.  Save your sugars for dessert after a good meal high in protein and fiber.  Then go brush your teeth.

8. Power Toothbrush

You will not believe how clean a good power toothbrush can get your teeth.  Now, don’t scrub with it, just give it a chance to do its work.  Don’t press too hard but do let the toothbrush contact the teeth, the tops, the sides, the backs.  Some power toothbrushes will let you know if you’re pressing too much and have different settings for near the gums.  Many power toothbrushes will time you, and one gives you a smiley face after two minutes and a wink after two and a half minutes!

9. Spit

Believe it:  Spit helps.  Many medications and conditions can lower the amount of spit in the mouth and this can easily lead to more frequent and more aggressive decay.  The reason is that spit contains not only lubricants but antibodies to fight plaque and their acidic environments.  If you feel low on saliva, we can recommend products to help.

Your Teeth

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10. Athletic Mouthguard

An active lifestyle can lead to injury.  In sports – especially contact sports of football, basketball, and hockey – an athletic mouthguard can go a long way in protecting the teeth from the injuries of becoming chipped, broken, or knocked out.  Please see my Dental Blog about what to do if trauma occurs.

Top Ten Good Things for Your Health

Top Ten Good Things for Your Health

1. Floss

Of course, this is number one.  A simple string with a mission for helping not only your oral health but your entire health, as studies are showing.  One time a day, takes a minute.  Just do it!  Once in the habit, you’ll not want to go back to “furry teeth.”

Your Health

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2. Movement

The body was made to move.  A bit of exercise will keep you going.  Walk, bike, garden, swim, whatever.

3. High Fiber

Oats, whole grains, fruits, vegetables: All these are sources of fiber to keep your blood and digestive systems healthy.

4. Sleep

Not enough sleep is a health killer.  Find your need and give yourself a regular time to go to bed and to get up.

5. Seat Belts

Don’t drive or ride without these proven lifesavers.  Click it and don’t text while driving.

6. Tobacco Free

Tobacco – whether smoked, dipped, or chewed – leads to cancer, heart disease, vascular disease, and poor oral health.  Ask your doctor for help to kick the habit.

7. Low Sugar

Enough with the sugar, America!  A little is okay, but all the time?  Find snacks and drinks that you enjoy but don’t contain sugar.  Too much sugar will rot your teeth out of your head and rot your soul out of your body.

8. Work

Got to work to eat.  Work also keeps the brain active.  Work is our contribution to our fellow humans, to our family, and to ourselves.

Your Health

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9. Leisure

The brain and body need time to relax and recharge.  Read a book, watch a movie, take up a hobby, practice a sport, or take up a musical instrument.  Why not?  Live a little.

10. Check-ups

Just as the teeth need check-ups, so does the rest of your body.  Team up with your medical professionals to prevent disease, head off problems, or fight the good fight.

Top Ten Good Things for Your Family

Top Ten Good Things for Your Family

If we got to live under the same roof, shouldn’t we enjoy each other’s company?

1. A Night at the Table

Try at least a night a week to get the whole family together around the dinner table.  Put on some good music, but not too loud to talk.  Serve a meal that doesn’t necessitate the cook always getting up.  Then talk and listen.  The kids may balk and sulk, but eventually they’ll connect.

Your Family

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2. Pizza Night

We have a Pizza and Pie night each Friday.  We mostly make a pizza but sometimes send out for one.  We make a homemade pie, different each week – delicious!  Then we’ll eat and watch a movie as a family.  We have fun repeating back the lines or comparing one movie to another.  Over time, this has become a tradition the kids hold as inviolate, or not to be broken.

3. Church

Go to church.  Find a small group Sunday School or Life Group that encourages discussion of the Scriptures as applied to life.  Sometimes you may have to pull your family back together for a service as even the church can separate us into age groups.  Once home, ask each family member what they learned.

Your Family

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4. Vacation

Taking a vacation doesn’t have to be expensive.  It’s these extended times together that make such lasting memories for you and your children.  And don’t argue.  Plan what you’ll do, where you’ll stay, and how to get there.  If you need to ask directions, then follow your wife’s advice and pull over to ask someone.  Some vacations are go, go, go.  Others can be relaxing and lazy.  Whichever, have fun.

5. TV off and Talk

There’s a small button on the remote that will actually turn the TV off.  Amazing!  Try limiting screen time (and there’s lots of screens surrounding us now) each night and then find that you can talk to each other without Facebook or texting or channel surfing.  Remarkable!

6. Read a Book Together

Choose a book that the youngest child can follow but will still interest the oldest.  This itself may be a chore.  Then read a bit each week.  Alternately, take time to read short books or a chapter of a longer book each night to each child.  It’s an investment in time, but you know where your children are and what’s going in their heads.

7. Work Together

There are chores that have to get done.  Some can be done with each other, or some are individual jobs in the same proximity.  Sometimes just presence is needed to become closer.

8. Time Alone

For smooth running relationships, everyone needs alone time to recharge.  This is especially true among people living in the same home.  It’s so you won’t drive each other crazy.

Your Family

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9. Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving can be a time when your immediate family reconnects with your extended family.  Try not to run higgly-piggly over the country or exhaust yourself in the kitchen or glue yourself to the football games, but give effort to be thankful.

10. Christmas

Believe it or not, but Christmas can be a good family time.  Don’t try to make the perfect Christmas and end up running yourself ragged.  Prioritize each other and the season, not breaking the bank on gifts.  Establish family traditions that mean something to each person but that don’t end up a big burden.