Michael Ling, DDS - April 2020


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The Value of Keeping Our Kids Involved

L ike many parents, my husband and I are always busy taking care of our kids. As a family, we often have something going on almost every night of the week, whether it’s practices or traveling for

they get to play together. (Of course, they are stuck playing point guard just like their mom. Sorry, girls!)

As the girls progress in their basketball careers, we’ve had the chance to see their personalities blossom as well. My eldest daughter is introverted, and she really benefits from a team setting, where the pressure is not solely on her abilities. She’s come out of her shell quite a bit since joining the team! As for her younger sister, basketball started out as enemy No. 1. She hated basketball! She would try anything and everything to get out of playing. We eventually learned she was scared. She didn’t know how to play and thought she would embarrass herself. Once we helped her overcome this fear and taught her more about the sport, she grew to love practice and games. It’s been great to see her overcome this obstacle. Our two girls aren’t the only athletes we have in the house, though! My son also participates in sports, but it’s more unique than basketball. He plays in a league that practices and plays a different sport each week. It’s a chance for him to learn something new and discover which sport he wants to continue. It also has the added benefit of getting some of that excitable energy out of him! He’s our extroverted boy, and the chance for him to let out his energy one night each week is cathartic for him and us! As for the two remaining little kiddos, they stay active with open swims, the library, and community events. I’m already starting to see what activities will best suit their personalities! For example, I know our toddler is going to thrive on the stage. She is a performer and always makes us laugh. Our schedule may only get crazier as the little ones get older, but there’s no other way I’d rather have it.

tournaments on the weekends. But if this means our children are learning valuable lessons and staying active, then the busy, crazy weeks are worth it. Just the other day, our oldest daughter learned one of those important lessons on teamwork. We traveled to a tournament with her basketball team. During one of the games, she hurt her leg, and her availability for the next day’s game was looking grim. We then learned that if she didn’t suit up and at least sit on the bench, her team would have to forfeit the entire tournament. They just didn’t have enough players. So the next day, she put on her uniform and headed to the bench, knowing full well she may not play. But by doing so, her teammates were able to play. Thankfully, her leg felt much better, and she did play! From this experience, she learned just how valuable each player is to the success of the team, even when they’re on the bench. I was very proud of her. My two older daughters both play basketball, just like my sister and I did together when we were growing up. Ironically, my entire family is very short, so we all played point guard. It was really the only position where height wasn’t an advantage! Still, I had fun sharing the court with my teammates and, in some seasons, my sister. Today, my daughters are experiencing the same thing. They played on a basketball team together last season, and while they are on different teams this year, they enjoy each chance

—Dr. Meg Ling



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When Should You Teach Your Child to Read?

And How Should You Do It?

the pig goes oink or the mailman has a funny, nasally voice, bring those features to life. You can also have your kids help you with daily tasks that require reading, like making a to-do list or shopping at the grocery store. When they’re helping you and having fun, it won’t feel like learning at all! Finally, the best way to make reading enjoyable for your children is to enjoy it yourself. Your kids watch what you do, and if they see you enjoying a good book, they’ll want to read even more. Reading opens up the world to them, and with your help, nothing will dull their love of learning.

If your child is between 3–5 years old, you’ve probably noticed that they’re becoming a lot more talkative. By the time children are 4, they can usually speak in 5–8-word sentences. That makes this age range the perfect time to get your child interested in reading. However, this can raise a lot of questions. For starters, the question of how to get your child interested in reading is almost more important than when you do it. You may wonder how much time you should spend reading with them, how intensive reading time should be, and if you should make everything involving words and letters into a reading lesson. While the answers to these questions will vary from child to child, there’s

S leep is the body’s way of recharging. While you fall into dreamland, your body is completing maintenance tasks, which includes balancing your hormones, repairing muscle and tissues, and boosting your immune system. Studies even link strong cognition, memory, and development with a good night’s sleep. So, when your body doesn’t get the sleep it needs, all those necessary tasks don’t happen. Unfortunately, as Dr. Meg explains, this isn’t uncommon for most children. “I don’t know any kids who have zero sleeping issues,” Dr. Meg says. “I have never met a child who never snores, never grinds, or never has a problem with the tongue. Usually, 9 out of 10 kids will have one of these symptoms.” If a child is struggling to get a restful night’s sleep, they will often snore, wake up throughout the night, struggle with behavioral and emotional issues, and frequently wiggle or move in their sleep. one goal that every parent should strive for when teaching their child to read: Above all, help them enjoy it. When your child starts kindergarten, learning to read will be a part of the curriculum. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to teach them to read earlier, though. If your child loves to read, it can make their learning experience much more enjoyable. There are plenty of ways to help your child enjoy reading from an early age. One is to simply read to them and make storytime fun. If

When assessing a child for an oral appliance, our team looks beyond the teeth. We look at the health and positioning of the mouth as a whole. For example, signs of frequent mouth breathing can be a sign of improper jaw alignment, which can cause sleep-disordered breathing conditions and an increased risk of tooth decay. We can also look for signs of snoring and teeth grinding just by examining the mouth, teeth, and throat. Dr. Meg is certified through Healthy Start, an oral smile guide program designed to grow with your child’s expanding mouth to correct positioning, open the airway, and protect your child’s teeth from decay and damage. In the past, many dental experts believed it was difficult or near impossible to treat a child’s grinding habits because of their growing and developing mouth. But thanks to Healthy Start, parents and children no longer have to mitigate the symptoms with less effective therapies and treatments. An oral smile guide program with Healthy Start can give your child’s health the boost it needs to optimize sleep and safe breathing habits. Call our office today to learn more about this program and how we can help your little one sleep and breathe easier.

What Can a Smile Guide Do for Your Child?

If this sounds like your child, an oral smile guide may be just the tool they need.



Laughing Gas! Bob: How did the dentist become a brain surgeon?

Finding the Right Dentist for Your Family Beet, Goat Cheese, and Arugula Salad Searching for the best medical professionals to treat your family can be a lot like searching for a needle in a haystack. You want to find a provider who is experienced and friendly, but you also need one who will suit your family’s particular needs. It can be confusing to sort through the stack of candidates for your family’s care, but when it comes to choosing a dental provider, there are a few key components to keep in mind. Inspired by FoodNetwork.com INGREDIENTS

Fred: I don’t know.

Bob: His drill slipped.

• 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar • 3 tbsp shallots, thinly sliced • 1 tbsp honey • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil • Salt and pepper to taste • 6 beets, peeled and quartered • 6 cups fresh arugula

For starters , it’s beneficial to find a dentist who will always be the professional your family members see. It’s much easier to develop a relationship with your dentist, and it’s much easier for your children to establish trust when they consistently see the same person at every appointment. If the dental hygienist and dentist change each time, this can create apprehension and fear for children. Next , don’t mistake average standards of care for above and beyond service. If a dental practice answers your messages, is friendly when you talk to them, and has a clean space, that’s great! They are meeting standards for what dental practices should be, but this does not mean their practice is top tier. Any successful business will have each of these components. Instead, search for practices that make your family feel welcome and the most comfortable. We guarantee that standard business practices will be common in these practices as well. Finally , many families and children thrive in small settings. Similarly to seeing the same dental team at every appointment, when a child is brought to an appointment at a small practice where they know people and don’t feel lost in a big operation, they are more likely to be comfortable and relaxed. This will ease any anxiety that children might feel during their appointment. Our team is proud to be part of this community, and we are honored to be a family- owned business that serves families. We believe our patients deserve nothing less than the best. Learn more about our services and get started with our team today by giving us a call or visiting our website.

• 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped • 1/4 cup dried cranberries or cherries • 1/2 avocado, cubed • 2 oz crumbled goat cheese


1. Heat oven to 450 F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. 2. In a medium bowl, combine vinegar, shallots, and honey. 3. Gradually whisk olive oil into the mixture and season with salt and pepper. 4. In a small bowl, toss the beets in dressing until they are coated. 5. Place coated beets on baking sheet and roast them for 12 minutes. Set the beets aside and allow them to cool. 6. In a large bowl, toss arugula, walnuts, and berries with the remaining vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper. 7. Top salad with beets, avocado, and goat cheese.



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The Lings Stay Busy With Sports and Activities 1 Fostering a Love of Reading in Your Child There Are Solutions to Your Child’s Sleeping Issues! 2 How Do You Know Your Dentist Is Right for You? Beet, Goat Cheese, and Arugula Salad 3 Helping Your Child Manage Stress 4


How do I know if my child is stressed? When a kid is stressed, they will exhibit odd behavior and even undergo physical changes. Depending on your child’s age, watch for mood swings, changes in sleep patterns, headaches, trouble focusing, or withdrawal from the people around them. According to KidsHealth.org, younger children may also pick up habits like twirling their hair or sucking their thumb, while older kids may start to bully others, lie, or rebel. Can I help reduce their stress? According to KidsHealth.org, good nutrition, proper rest, and healthy attention are great ways to help kids manage their stress. Set time aside each day to talk and spend time with your children; talking about worries will reduce or relieve anxieties. If you know about an upcoming stressful situation, like a school exam or a health checkup, prepare your child by studying with them or talking to them about what to expect. Don’t stop here. For more tools and information regarding stress reduction in children, visit KidsHealth.org or contact your doctor.

It’s hard to imagine kids as anything but carefree, happy, and eager to explore the world around them. However,

children experience stress just like adults do, which can severely impact their typically cheerful dispositions. Since April is National Stress Awareness Month, now is an opportune time to familiarize yourself with tools and information that can help you alleviate your child’s stress. What are their stressors? Any number of everyday factors can lead to stress, and stress can plague anyone who feels overwhelmed. Toddlers and young children going to day care or school for the first time may experience separation anxiety due to being apart from their parents. Older kids and teenagers may feel mounting social and academic pressure. Even something as simple as overhearing loved ones arguing or seeing a sad news report can add to a child’s stress levels.



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