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Looking for a great way to kick off the new year? How about participating in National Staying Healthy Month to create habits that will follow you all year? The mouth is the gateway to thebody, and a healthy mouth can mean better overall health. Running throughout the month of January, National Staying Healthy Month gives you an opportunity to establish better oral
health routines.

While the World Health Organization (WHO) applauds innovations in medicine, such as vaccinations, therapies, drugs, and surgical procedures, which have contributed greatly to our improved health, it also understands that the responsibility for good health and well-being starts with the individual. Medical science is discovering more about what the body needs to
function. Innovations in dentistry such as sealants, fluoride, and implants enhance and improve oral health, but it's still up to you to implement and initiate this care.

National Staying Healthy Month Suggested Activities:

  1. Laughter is the best medicine. Smile right now! The seven muscles used when smilingtrigger happiness throughout your whole body. Endorphins are released, promoting a sense of well-being. Laughing also decreases stress hormones and increases blood flow by 20 percent.The power of human connection begins with a smile. The more humans connect with each other, the more we share tools and knowledge to keep ourselves healthy. A good oral health care program makes you more likely to smile.
    2. Get more exercise. Spending time outdoors in green spaces can boost mental health, self-esteem, and reduce negative thoughts. As Anishinaabe, we are less than 10 miles from water in this beautiful state of Michigan. Finding and enjoying waterscapes can help reduce stress.
    Dr. Jessica A. Rickert

    3. Consume the right fuel. Increase your whole foods and grains intake. Eat raw fruits and vegetables. Having all your natural teeth, strong and healthy, begins the digestive process with thorough chewing. If teeth are missing, the dentist can fabricate replacements, making eating healthy foods easier.
    4. Squash, carrots, potatoes, and cauliflower are all delicious additions to your menu. Extra fiber enhances your digestive system, so add legumes, whole grains, nuts, and seeds to your daily menu. Whole foods also help you resist the temptation for less-healthy options.
    5. Reduce one unhealthy food from your diet. It may be sugar, alcohol, fast food, processed carbohydrates, or soda. Whatever you choose, commit to eliminating it for one full week. Afterward, you might find it easier to continue one day at a time without that food.
    6. Water keeps you healthy. The human body is nearly 60 percent water. Make sure you drink plenty of water every day.
    7. Sing! When you wake up, sing as you go through your morning routine. Try this: "When you're happy and you know it, give a smile! When you're happy and you know it, give a smile! When you're happy and you know it, then your face will surely show it! When you're happy and you know it, give a smile!" From school fight songs to hymns to pop music or even opera – odds are you know the words to your favorite song. There will be several times throughout the day when you can fit in a song, whether singing softly or with gusto. Excellent oral health increases confidence to sing any song.
    8. Lead by example and inspire others to stay healthy by sharing your tips with friends and family. Model excellent dental care at home. Model excellent dental care by keeping all dental appointment.

Good dental health is very important. National Staying Healthy Month is the boost we need to improve our lives. We can take better care of ourselves in 2024. Are you up to the challenge?

Dr. Jessica A. Rickert is a tribal citizen of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation. A graduate of the University of Michigan School of Dentistry, in 1975, she became for the first female Native American dentist.

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About The Author
Author: Jessica A. RickertEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.