John Harris, DDS March 2019



MARCH 2019


Troubleshooting Solutions to the Dangerous Affliction

In last month’s edition, I talked about my younger years and how important my parents are to me. We all have people in our lives (hopefully) who have really made a difference. Whether they are relatives, coaches, or older friends, mentors demonstrate character and instill admirable values in us. For me, this person was my father. Whenever I think of him, I wish my children and I could have spent more time with him before he passed. This came to mind recently when I was thinking about the importance of a good night’s sleep. A lot of us know people who, like my dad, could snore the paint off the ceiling. Back when I was younger, snoring didn’t get a lot of attention in regard to health; it was nothing more than a nuisance for those sleeping in the same room. Many didn’t recognize it as a sign of sleep apnea or how it could influence health. The good news is that in recent years, the American Dental Association has become more aware of the role dentists have in the treatment of Sleep Disordered Breathing (SDB). I am proud to announce that I am now screening for signs of sleep apnea just as I have been screening for signs of oral cancer and other conditions all these years. I’m sure some of you may be wondering what sleep apnea is. It boils down to pauses in breathing or periods of shallow breathing during your sleep cycle. Each pause can last a few seconds or a few minutes and happen repeatedly throughout the night. Most commonly, the condition is accompanied with loud snoring. While the snoring is paused, there may be a choking or snorting sound as breathing resumes. Because the disorder disrupts normal sleep, one of the major symptoms is sleepiness during day. However, the effects may be much more serious and can range from hyperactivity in children to increased risk of hypertension, strokes, or heart attacks in adults. It’s no laughing matter. Every time your airway is blocked or partially blocked, your heart rate and breathing increase until your brain wakes you up. These episodes of irregular brain activity and breathing patterns can cause dangerous decreases in blood oxygen levels, robbing your brain and vital organs of the oxygen they need to repair themselves. Over time, this recurring lack of oxygen manifests as a decline in health and quality of life. The most common cause of sleep apnea is upper airway obstruction commonly seen in overweight individuals. These obstructions are caused by the relaxation

of upper airway muscles when you drift into a deep sleep, resulting in the back of the tongue starting to close your airway. Some people are more prone to an upper airway obstruction because they may have inherently narrow airways, which means even a thin person can be affected. As we age, our airways tend to get floppier and more likely to collapse if we’re heavyset. That means you need to be proactive if you’re going to stop this problem before it escalates any further. In order to test whether or not you’re being affected by sleep apnea, you need to see a registered physician. The doctor may then have you do an in-home or in-office sleep test that will let you know what level of sleep apnea you’re being affected by. The good news is that treatment is more accessible than ever. Some of the more common treatments prescribed are A CPAP machine, throat surgery, or an oral appliance. That’s where we come in. A dentist who’s trained in sleep dentistry can customize the many different types and designs of oral appliances to fit your specific medical needs. My aim is to create an oral appliance that will minimize any possible side effects that can occur and maximize your time spent getting a good night’s rest. Don’t wait any longer. If you think you’re suffering from sleep apnea, it’s time to get you back on track with quality sleep in the sack — the person sleeping next to you at night will thank you later. Now, if I could figure out how to make an oral appliance for my 110-pound puppy that likes to sleep in the bed with us, I’d have it made.

- John Harris, DDS


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3 Ways to Honor International Women’s Day

On March 8, people around the world will honor International Women’s Day. Adopted by the United Nations in 1975, the holiday is meant to highlight the immeasurable accomplishments of women throughout history and draw attention to the ongoing struggle for global gender equality. International Women’s Day is celebrated differently around the world. Some nations, like Nepal, give all their citizens the day off. Most countries, however, including the United States, treat it as a normal day, at least officially. Even though we don’t have the day off, there are many ways for everyone to honor International Women’s Day this year. Here are a few of them.

DONATE WITH CARE The Right Way to Donate After Spring-Cleaning

Talk About theWomenWho Inspire You

Spring is in the air, and it’s time to celebrate with another round of spring- cleaning. Banish the clutter and make room in your life for something new! Many charities see a sharp increase in donations as spring-cleaning season starts. Donating your used books, kids’ toys, and gently worn clothing allows your old items to have a second life. However, when filling that donation box, make sure you’re donating each item because it can do good and not just because you feel bad about throwing it away. Charities have a big problem with well-meaning citizens dropping off items that are better left in the trash. There are many items charities simply cannot handle. Most charities will have lists of items they can and cannot accept on their websites. Some items that you should not donate include:

From major innovators, like Ada Lovelace, the world’s first computer programmer, to megalithic literary icons, like Maya Angelou, women throughout history have shaped how we live our lives. Whether you’re inspired by famous historical figures or the women in your own life, take the time to talk about that influence. Which women helped get you where you are today? What female leaders do you look up to? What are some lessons you’ve learned from them?

Make Room for Conversation in theWorkplace

Many of the challenges women face globally happen in the workplace. If you think your company has room for improvement in its treatment of women, now is a great time to do something about it. Even if you believe your company treats women and men equally, there’s no harm in empowering your colleagues to talk to give their opinions. If you’re an employer, this could mean giving women in your workplace an avenue to discuss issues, air grievances, and make suggestions. If you’re an employee, consider asking for such a forum. In either case, providing both public and anonymous avenues for women to express themselves is a great way for your company to take a step forward in fostering gender equality.

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Expired medications

Old TVs


Loose remote controls

Personal care items, like soap, shampoo, or makeup


Join the Conversation


Tangled cords or phone chargers Any broken, damaged, or dirty items

Regardless of your gender, March 8 is the perfect time to tune in to the larger conversation surrounding gender

These items may be unsafe to sell, costly to ship, or impossible to refurbish effectively. When a charity regularly receives items they cannot use, they have to spend hours of manpower sorting through things that end up in the trash anyway. This process can be expensive for organizations with already-strained resources. Some local charities spend over $1,000 a year on dumpster and trash removal fees for unusable donations. While charities will have no choice but to throw unusable donations in the trash, there are services you can use to make your spring- cleaning eco-friendly, even for items you can’t donate. For example, if you have torn or stained blue jeans, reach out to Blue Jeans Go Green. This program keeps denim out of landfills by turning it into insulation. And while Goodwill can’t take your batteries or old flip phone, you can check out to learn how to safely recycle your e-waste.

inequality, if you haven’t already. This could mean attending meetings or demonstrations in your town, reading works that capture the female struggle for equality, such as Roxane Gay’s “Difficult Women,” or seeking out blogs and social media accounts from gender equality activists online. International Women’s Day is about appreciating the contributions of women to society and envisioning a more equal world for the future.

However, you decide to celebrate women this March, keep in mind that no matter who you are or where you come from, we all have the

Your donations can be a big help to local charities. Just don’t “donate” your garbage.

power to change our world for the better.

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LLAMAS, PIGS, AND HORSES … OH, MY! 3 Unique Therapy Animals Everyone has heard of therapy dogs and cats, but did you know virtually any critter can be a therapy or support animal? Therapy animals help humans cope with PTSD, anxiety, depression, injury, high blood pressure, and chronic pain, as well as a wide range of other conditions and difficulties. Therapy animals range from guinea pigs that can fit in a purse to dolphins that swim with amputees. Here are three unique companions who make a difference in the lives of people who need them.

beneath his desk to pet Buttercup. Afterward,

Rojo the Llama

the child spoke to the class for the first time. “It was a remarkable breakthrough,” says Brady.

Mountain Peaks Therapy Llamas and Alpacas in Portland, Oregon, has conducted over 1,500 visits during the last decade and helps over 10,000 people each year. Their star llama, Rojo, is one of just 14 llamas registered as a therapy animal in the United States. Rojo’s exceptionally gentle temperament is calming to everyone who meets him. He’s so well-loved and has become such a big deal that he has his own Facebook page and two children’s books!

Rocky the Miniature Horse

Buttercup the Pot-Bellied Pig

At just 32 inches high and 325 pounds, Rocky packs a lot of cuteness into one small package. He’s not a pony but rather a breed of miniature horse historically used in coal mines in the 17th century. His specialty is working with retired veterans at the VA Community Living Center in Phoenix, Arizona, where the residents know him and look forward to his visits. For some, Rocky’s visits are bittersweet. “I wish I could have had more time to spend with horses,” says one veteran as he scratches Rocky’s ears. “There’s something calming about them.”

Lois Brady, a speech pathologist who works with special needs students in San Francisco, has a secret weapon in her arsenal: Buttercup, her black, 70-pound Vietnamese pot-bellied pig. His docile nature makes him the perfect companion for autistic children, who are often easily startled. Because Buttercup is an unusual sight in classrooms, children find him fascinating. In 2017, an autistic student who had never spoken to his classmates before felt compelled to crawl out from

Everything Popcorn


Inspired by Food &Wine Magazine.


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3/4 cup corn kernels

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2 teaspoons granulated garlic 2 teaspoons granulated onion

2 tablespoons flaky sea salt 1 teaspoon black sesame seeds 2 teaspoons white sesame seeds

1/3 cup canola oil

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted



In a small skillet over medium heat, toast sesame seeds. Shake skillet often and cook until white seeds are golden and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and add garlic, onion, and salt. In a large saucepan, combine popcorn kernels and oil. Cook over medium-

high heat, covered, until popcorn kernels start to pop. Once popping, continue cooking and shaking the pan intermittently until popping ceases, about 3–5 minutes. Transfer popcorn to a large mixing bowl. Pour in butter and toss to coat. Finally, add seasoning, toss again, and serve.

Solution on page 4




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How to Recognize and Treat Sleep Apnea


Why Charities Hate Spring-Cleaning

3 Ways to Honor International Women’s Day


Llamas, Pigs, and Horses … Oh, My!

Everything Popcorn


Family Activities for St. Patrick’s Day


Family-Friendly Activities

Exploring Irish Culture

Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day doesn’t have to mean heading to the local Irish bar and drinking a large green beverage. If you’re not interested in going out this year and would prefer to do something at home with the family, here are a few ways everyone can celebrate.

Another way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with your family is to sit down and read about Irish culture with your kids. Learn where the legend of the leprechaun came fromor read other stories from Irish folklore. You can also watch videos of Irish dance performances and encourage the kids tomake their own. There’s also fascinating history on St. Patrick and why he became the patron of the holiday that your family members can research together. If you have Irish roots, tell your kids about your heritage.

Irish-Themed Food

Watch Irish Movies

What better way to get festive than by making some St. Patrick’s Day-themed dishes? You can make rainbow cupcakes, green cookies, St. Patrick’s Day popcorn, or — for a more traditional

For a relaxing activity, settle down in front of the TV for a movie night filled with films related to Irish culture. Try “The Magical Legend of the Leprechauns,”“Song of the Sea,”“The Luck of the Irish,” or “The Secret of Kells.”

dish — Irish soda bread. You can also cook up an array of greens for dinner on March 17, which could include Brussels sprouts, spinach, cucumbers, green beans, peas, or asparagus.

Make an Impact

Teach your kids how to be “greener” this month by doing more for the environment. Discuss ways to save energy and water in the home, and talk about the importance of taking a break from electronics and enjoying the outdoors. This list is not exhaustive by any means, but it’s a good start to get your family to create new ways to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. You might even create family traditions that will last for years to come.

A Mischievous Leprechaun

To treat your kids to a fun game, leave green footprints around the house and participate in impish tricks! Empty a tissue box, hide the remote, swap out regular light bulbs with green ones, or draw rainbows on the windows. You’re only limited by your imagination.

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