Monthly Archives: July 2013

Oral Health Tips for Moms to Be

Any woman who has been pregnant will tell you, MANY health changes come with carrying a baby. Your oral health is no exception! Here are five things to know when expecting.

Pregnancy gingivitis symptoms. Hormone changes can exaggerate the way gum tissue reacts to plaque. If that plaque isn’t removed, it may eventually cause gingivitis, the first stage of periodontal disease. This can even lead to bone loss around the teeth. Symptoms: swollen gums that bleed easily when brushed.

Dry mouth. Dry mouth is a pretty common side effect during pregnancy, but it’s not one to take lightly. Good saliva flow helps clean your mouth, decreasing your risk for tooth decay and gum disease. Stay hydrated, brush with a fluoride toothpaste twice a day and flossing regularly.

Pregnancy “tumors” are nothing to worry about. Though these sound scary, they’re just benign growths resulting from swollen gums. They typically go away on their own.

It’s safe to see the dentist when pregnant! If you become pregnant and haven’t had a cleaning in the past year, see your dentist during the first trimester for a dental cleaning and guidance on maintaining your oral health during pregnancy. If dental work is needed, the second trimester is the safest time to get it done. If a dental emergency happens in the third trimester, the mom-to-be should consult her obstetrician before moving forward with any procedures.

X-rays should be avoided, but are acceptable, if necessary. Any procedure that can wait until after the baby is born – including X-rays – should. But emergencies happen; and when they do, dentists will take great care to expose moms-to-be to the lowest amount of radiation possible by protecting the woman’s neck and lap with a lead apron.

My Story

My name is Michael and I have bipolar disorder.  My older brother was diagnosed with the same illness before I was.  I thought it would not happen to me.  I was in my mid 20s when I had my first break.  It was very scary but after a time I was able to get back to what I thought was normal.  Then I had another break when I was 30 and I knew something was really wrong.  It took another year or so before I was finally diagnosed.  My doctors tried many different combinations of medications before I was able to manage on my own again.  One of the doctors told me I would need to take meds the rest of my life.  That’s when I realized how serious my condition was.  I needed to accept the reality of my bipolar illness and see it for what it was – a treatable condition.

Along the way I have learned many different lessons.  I learned about the importance of humility.  To me this meant that certain things are beyond our control.  Reaching out to family and helping professionals are much more effective than crawling onto a corner and cursing the darkness.  I prayed for perseverance to stay with the medication treatment and behavioral therapy even when it seems things get even worse.  It is in those times I realized the most important treatment for bipolar disorder – faith.  This means to me that all things in this life, including sickness and health, are temporary.  Though I may not understand, the intense hurts and joys of living with mental illness are part of life that is greater than our capacity to understand.  But our struggles with coping with the illness do not relieve us of bearing some responsibility for making the world a better place for those who follow.  As awful as it seems at times I hope God finds a way to make it work to the ultimate good.


Stigma Keeps People From Reaching Out

By Matt Doll, PhD, Psychologist, Agnesian HealthCare Doll & Associates

As those of you familiar with “social media” may know, deciding how and what to share about ourselves is very important. The fact that we have a concern, and that we are either working on it or have successfully overcome it can be very helpful for other people to hear.

Respectful exchanges with others without vivid detail and over dramatics seem to be a good benchmark. I have been told by the people that I work with that one of the most helpful things that I have said is that even as a psychologist (supposedly knowing better), I am not a perfect parent, nor partner to my wife. Glad to be of service!

A professional level of self-disclosure can be helpful, but turning therapy into “Matt’s life events” time would not. If you are currently in treatment and do not feel safe or able to share at the time, that is more than OK. If, however, you are ready and comfortable in sharing your story, it does appear that a lot of good can come from the effort. Knowing that others share similar struggles helps us feel less isolated and different, and more likely to seek help when we need it.

This is true for physical, as well as mental difficulties. Sadly, we appear willing and able to share the intimate details of our digestive tract, but are often silent on the struggles we all have with mental health. Perhaps it is the fear of being judged by others. There certainly seems to be a lot of folks living in Kevlar houses these days. Perhaps it is the fear of being labeled and thought of as “different.” Perhaps we feel our employment or status in the military would be threatened. Perhaps ending up on a national register for the mentally ill?

Whatever the reasons, the stigma of mental health appears to be one reason people do not access needed services. Dr. Pat Kerrigan has been working on this with our military and various communities. He has identified that, while information about mental illness can help, it is the person-to-person contact, the sharing of each other’s stories, that helps people overcome stigma.

He calls it Strategic Stigma Change. A banker gets up and tells his fellow bankers about a time when he suffered with depression, sought help and got better. At a board meeting, the HR director shares that she sees how folks that use the Employee Assistance Program become more productive and better employees, well worth the investment. Neighbors share that they have common struggles with anxiety, child-rearing, marriage.

Person-to-person, with people we share common interests, experiences or culture. The truth is that mental health issues touch us all. Statistically, one in four of us will be affected by a mental health issue in our lives. If you consider family and friends, 100 percent of us will either be or know someone affected by mental health difficulties.

So consider sharing in a safe and respectful way. Reach out to those that need support and understanding. Despite the rhetoric, folks with serious mental illness are much more likely to be victims of violence than violent themselves, even less so when supported and cared for.

Mental health treatment works; even better when difficulties are caught early.

This article is part of the countywide Healthy 2020 initiative. The mental health access committee is working on a variety of issues to improve the quality, coordination and availability of mental health care in our community. If you are interested in helping out more, visit or contact the local National Alliance on Mental Illness office.

Mental health disorders are very common. Research suggests one in four Americans suffer from a mental health disorder on any given day. To learn more information regarding mental health wellness, please contact your local mental health treatment provider.


Fond du Lac County Binge Drinks at Higher Rate than National Average

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines binge drinking as a pattern of drinking that brings a person’s blood alcohol concentration to 0.08 grams percent or above. When compared to the national binge drinking rate (17%), Fond du Lac County’s binge drinking rate (22%) is elevated.  That amounts to approximately one in every five Fond du Lac County residents participating in binge drinking. Excessive alcohol consumption is the third leading cause of preventable death in the United States.

Although binge drinking is a nationwide problem, what can we do to reduce this locally?  It is important to note that everyone can help in the prevention of binge drinking.  Here are a few tips to keep in mind to help prevent binge drinking.

  • Start by drinking a soda or other non alcoholic drinks
  • Drink slowly and be aware of what a “standard drink” really is
  • Go out with a friend who doesn’t drink or who has similar low limits in mind
  • Limit the amount of cash you bring out and leave your credit card at home
  • Knowing what triggers binge drinking, and avoiding/preparing for these triggers
  • Remember that drinking is not a competition, nor is it a way to look cool
  • Resist pressure from others around you

Drug Free Communities (DFC) of Fond du Lac County a local coalition has already begun to implement strategies to prevent and reduce binge drinking in our county. DFC has built partnerships with law enforcement, health care, and other agencies in efforts to reduce binge drinking. In addition, youth action groups including, Students Taking Action Against Negative Decisions (STAAND) have promoted awareness campaigns to help educate both the youth and other community members.

With your help, as a community, the binge drinking rate of Fond du Lac County can be reduced and many of its outcomes such as unplanned pregnancies, assaults, drunk driving and more can be prevented.

For more information please visit  Further community recommendations can be found at