Our Blog

Posts for category: Helping You With Healthy Habits

I love it when it is a new year! I love when the sands of time wash away the old year and we embrace the hope and promise of a new year!

For many it’s a time of new beginnings and resolutions. In the past week I have noticed how many times I have said to our friends sitting in my treatment room, “That would be a great New Year’s resolution!” (Bill would be the first to tell you I am great at making resolutions for others!)

One young woman, who we see each year when she returns for her holiday visit to her family, shared that since her visit last year at this time she had not missed one day of flossing!

"After years of sporadic flossing, (at best!) Sharon finally found the key to motivating me. I was concerned about some new staining between my teeth and after she worked so hard to remove it, I asked her the best way to prevent it from coming back. Regular flossing was the answer! I decided to try an experiment: floss every day for a year until my next visit and see if they noticed. I was pleased with how quickly it became a part of my routine. Now I can't think of going to bed until I have both brushed and flossed my teeth. A year later I was rewarded with no staining and my healthiest gums ever. Just ask my dentist!" ~ Jenny E.

Wow! It worked! The habit Jenny began last year had not only the cosmetic effect that was her motivation, but I immediately asked her what she had been doing differently because her gum tissue was in excellent health. Happy dance!!

This week I was reading an installment from one of our dental practice coaches, Kirk Behrendt of Act Dental Coaching, and he gave these statistics:

  • 45% of people make some type of resolution
  • Just 8% of people always succeed at their resolutions
  • 24% of people have never achieved any type of resolution…EVER

In this month’s article Kirk suggests that instead of making resolutions to instead try making commitments. He says, “Resolutions are more about the use of ‘willpower’ and changing the things you don’t like about yourself. Commitments, on the other hand, are appointments with yourself (or others) to hold you truly accountable to a result.”

I really like what Kirk has said, both for myself for this new year, and also as a way to be a ‘coach’ to the people that come to us for better dental health. We believe that becoming healthy is a ‘process’ or ‘journey’ - and one of our foundational practice commitments is to help people attain the level of dental health they desire. When we can share that intention together GREAT things happen! Look at Jenny – what an inspiration! In this coming year we look forward to your appointment with us so we can hear about the ‘appointment you made with yourself’ for your commitment to health and your intentions that have become actions! Perhaps daily flossing?

-- Sharon Kuttler, RDH

By Sharon Kuttler, RDH
December 10, 2012

This brief and effective jaw relaxer comes from our friend Deb May at YogaCare. If you find yourself carrying tension in your jaw, do this relaxer for immediate relief.


How to Relax Your Jaw in Two Minutes
With your tongue, touch each tooth, front & back, feeling where each tooth connects to the gum. Breathe deeply, stay aware and relaxed.

Use your tongue to massage the jaw hinge from the inside of your mouth. Take about 1 minute to do the left side of the mouth, then the right side, then rest your tongue at the bottom of your mouth.

Notice how it feels – your teeth slightly apart, the space at the roof of the mouth, tongue relaxed at the bottom of your mouth ... your jaw relaxed!


It seems so simple, but it really does work!

You'll find this practice and more on our new CD Relieve Stress for Dental Health. Click here to read more about the project and order your copy today.

I dental yogawas first introduced to yoga as a student at the University of Hawaii. After a long and stressful day in our student clinic, one of my dental hygiene classmates shared some poses with me. I immediately experienced help with the tension in my body, learned to relax my neck and shoulders and discovered a way to take some deep breaths between each patient.

I have been practicing yoga with Deb May of YogaCare since 2005. One of the greatest rewards of consistent practice, awareness, and intention has been the way yoga has helped me reduce stress and tension in my body and in my life. 

Everyone carries tension in their body in different ways – sometimes it is in our neck, shoulders or jaw. Through yoga I have become more aware of the places tension resides in my body. Every time Deb would remind us to “relax your jaw” during a yoga pose, I found my jaw tightly clenched! This personal awareness planted the seed for what has grown into Kuttler Dental’s latest mission: To help the increasing number of people who deal with stress, jaw pain and teeth grinding.

As a dental hygienist, I see the dental effects of tooth wear every day. We have learned through studies that lifestyle changes are one of the most effective ways to address this. So I began with myself, and now want to spread the word!

Bill, Deb and I partnered to create an audio CD with a special focus on relaxation and breathing techniques to help reduce stress. You can learn ways to relax not only your jaw, but your whole way of being. We designed this CD to help everyone – it is geared toward beginners and even those who have never tried yoga. While there are two basic yoga practices on the disc, the rest of the tracks are focused on helping you to learn to relax, breathe deeply, and live freely.

If you are interested in our Relieve Stress for Dental Health CD, you can order here or give us a call at 563.583.6424. The cost is $16.00 (tax included). Shipping is an additional $2.00 or you can stop by our office in Dubuque and pick it up.

-- Sharon L. Kuttler, RDH