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Sue Ann Says…Don’t Take Your Oral Health For Granted

Sue Ann Says… Don’t Take Your Oral Health For Granted!

Many women believe that their smile is their best asset. I love to laugh and smile with my family and friends, but I realize that having a white smile is not enough!  Our ability to eat nutritious foods and obtain vital nutrients depends upon having healthy teeth. Without intervention, dental disease can have unexpected and expensive consequences for women. Lisa Bell, the State Public Health Dental Hygienist, described why women have specific oral health issues. “Our menstrual cycle, pregnancy and menopause can all cause unique oral health problems for women. Poor lifestyle habits like drinking alcohol and smoking increase the likelihood of decay that cause tooth loss. We have seen more women coming to the Madison Dental Initiative with dental complications than men for these reasons.”


I want you to be conscientious about your oral health. Let’s take a look at some of these issues that can occur at various stages of your life.

Oral Health and Pregnancy


Due to changes in your body during pregnancy, the amount of estrogen and progesterone increases in your body. These levels of hormones affect your oral tissues, especially if you have plaque. Excessive plaque causes “pregnancy gingivitis” which needs to be treated by a dentist. Gingivitis symptoms typically include swollen, tender and bleeding gums. If you leave gingivitis untreated your chances of getting periodontal disease escalates.

Wisconsin Women’s Health Foundation’s GrapeVine Project, presented by Faith Community/Parish Nurses, shares health information throughout the state with women during free group sessions. Nora Miller, Program Manager, provided this information. The physical effects of pregnancy can impact positive oral health behaviors. Nausea and vomiting sometimes causes women to avoid tooth brushing, and, as a result, the risk of tooth erosion and dental caries may increase. In addition, food cravings may lead to frequent consumption of sugary snacks and increase the risk of caries.

While you are pregnant, commit to taking special care of your teeth. Clean along your gum line with toothpaste after each meal, and floss! Your dentist can help control the plaque. Regular contact with your dentist during your pregnancy is a must! Don’t forget to eat nutritious foods while pregnant such as cheese, yogurt and milk. This will help your baby have strong teeth and bones.

Menopause and Your Oral Health

Portrait of mature woman sitting in countryside

We need to be even more dedicated to maintaining our oral health as we age. Menopause can be the source of several unfavorable dental problems. With our estrogen levels on the decline, our jaw bone density can decrease. Once we have problems with the jaw bone density, tooth loss is common. Tooth loss leads to complications with chewing and nutritional deficiencies, therefore our health is compromised.

Another menopausal condition we can suffer from is dry mouth. Without saliva to neutralize acids and help fight plaque, gum infections may be common. Dry mouth can also be due to medications that you are prescribed for other health conditions.

Diseases Linked to Poor Oral Hygiene

Ignoring your dental health does not just cause a yellow smile. Researchers are completing studies to determine if there is a correlation between oral bacteria and heart disease. If you have infected pockets in your gums, the pockets allow bacteria to reach your blood stream. Bacteria release toxins and these toxins could damage your blood vessels. Your body’s response to toxins is for your immune system to kick into attack mode which causes inflammation. It may be possible for this inflammation to cause a heart attack or stroke.

Bleeding gums and tooth loss have been linked to other diseases such as high cholesterol, diabetes and high blood pressure. Nora Miller provided the following information from the American Dental Hygienists’ Association. Research studies have found a link between periodontal (gum) disease and diabetes. Symptoms of the disease often appear in the mouth, while almost one-third of people with diabetes have severe periodontal disease. This is believed to be a result of the diabetic patient’s greater susceptibility to developing infections. Conversely, severe periodontal disease may increase the risk of developing diabetes, and may make it more difficult to manage blood sugar levels.

Oral Health Issues Due to Smoking and Alcohol


The numerous chemicals in cigarettes affect your mouth tissue. Problems linked to smoking include tooth discoloration, oral cancer, bad breath, and the possibility of implants failing. If you smoke and ignore your dental hygiene, plaque builds up on your teeth. This is a perfect place for tar to attach to your teeth and gums. The cancer causing agents adhere themselves to these areas leaving your tongue, mouth, gums, pharynx and esophagus possible targets of oral cancer.

Drinking alcohol has a direct impact on your gums and increases periodontal disease. Drinking alcoholic beverages frequently increases the chances of oral cancer, especially on the gums, roof of the mouth or on the tongue. If you do smoke or drink alcohol, you should schedule dental check-ups every six months so that your dentist can identify changes in your mouth or jaw.

Take Time For Your Teeth!

My advice to you is to brush your teeth twice a day, floss and schedule your dental appointments. This small fraction of time out of your day is essential to your physical wellness.

Because it all begins with a healthy woman…

Save the Date – 12th Annual National Women’s Health & Fitness Day Coming Up!

12th Annual National Women’s Health & Fitness Day is coming soon!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

National Women’s Health & Fitness Day is the nation’s largest annual health promotion event for women of all ages. It is a public/private good health partnership organized by the Health Information Resource Center. The program focuses attention on the importance of regular physical activity and health awareness for women.  Many local organizations throughout the U.S. participate in the event. It is anticipated that more than 1,000 groups across the country will host women’s health and fitness events, including the Wisconsin Women’s Health Foundation!

Wisconsin Women’s Health Foundation is hosting: The Gathering

Since 2002, the Gathering has provided women an opportunity to meet old and new friends and attend workshops on health information and resources they need to be healthy.  The event is designed to engage and energize attendees, to teach new information applied in real life, help with goal setting, and create support networks.  Participants learn to become better advocates for their health and that of their families in a way which allows them to create balance, wholeness and wellness in body, mind, and spirit.

Space is limited and pre-registration is required.  There is no cost to attend; conference materials and lunch are provided.

Register at www.wwhf.org

For All You Yoginis

Some interesting facts about yoga…since it is National Yoga Awareness Month and all…



  1. A 2008 market study in Yoga Journal reports that some 16 million Americans practice yoga and spend $5.7 billion a year on gear.
  2. “Doga” is a type of yoga in which people use yoga to achieve harmony with their pets. Dogs can either be used as props for their owners or they can do the stretches themselves. It reportedly started in New York in 2002 when Suzi Teitelman started “Yoga for Dogs.”
  3. The yoga symbol “Om” is found in Hindu and Tibetan philosophy. It is said to be the primordial sound of the universe and is connected to the Ajna Chakra (the conscience) or “third eye” region.
  4. The United States Product Safety Commission listed 4,450 reported yoga injuries in 2006, up from 3,760 in 2004.
  5. Yoga has been called one of the first and most successful products of globalization.
  6. Several scholars have noted that yoga had been packaged so well as a defense against illness and aging that it is “easy to lose sight of its real purpose—spiritual liberation.”
  7. The lotus pose is a sitting pose meant to resemble the perfect symmetry and beauty of a lotus flower. Siddhartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism, and Shiva, a major god in Hinduism, are typically shown in this pose.
  8. Patanjali (150 B.C.) was an Indian sage who recorded a series aphorism on how to practice yoga in the text Yoga Sutras. While Patanjali is typically considered the father of yoga, yoga was around long before Patanjali, who only made it more accessible.
  9. The Beatles, especially George Harrison, helped introduce yoga into the West. Additionally, the Beatles were the first to bring the sitar into rock and roll and the first to introduce Hindu melodies into modern music.l
  10. Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung was one of the first Westerners to study yoga in depth. His comments on developing higher consciousness in the East helped introduce the West to yoga concepts and practices.
  11. Yoga is defined as having eight branches or limbs. (Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyhara, Dharana, Dhyana, Samadhi). The third limb, “Asana,” refers to postures and poses that most people think of when they hear the word “yoga.”
  12. A male practitioner of yoga is called a yogi, and a female practitioner is called a yogini.

And just for you women:

  1. Yoga teachers debate whether women should avoid inverted poses during their menstrual cycle. Some teachers say that inverted poses raise the risk of endometriosis and vascular congestion, or that inversions disturb energetic flow. Others say that yoga can alleviate menstrual cramps. Still others say the decision is up to the individual woman.

Healthy Aging

It’s September, and that means it’s healthy aging month.

Here are some tips for tackling healthy aging in 3 areas:

 Cardiovascular health:

  • Include physical activity in your daily routine. Try walking, swimming or any other active activities you enjoy. Regular moderate physical activity will help you maintain a healthy weight and lower blood pressure.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Choose vegetables, fruits, whole grains, high-fiber foods and lean sources of protein. Limit foods high in saturated fat and sodium. A healthy diet can help you keep your heart and arteries healthy.

heart health

  • Manage stress. Stress can take a toll on your heart. Take steps to reduce stress — or learn to deal with stress in healthy ways – try journaling!

Bones, joints and muscles:

  • Get adequate amounts of calcium. The Institute of Medicine recommends 1,200 mg a day for women age 51 and older. Dietary sources of calcium include diary products, almonds, broccoli, kale, canned salmon with bones, sardines and soy products, such as tofu. If you find it difficult to get enough calcium from your diet, ask your doctor about calcium supplements.
  • Get adequate amounts of vitamin D. For adults ages 19 to 70, the Institute of Medicine recommends 600 international units (IU) of vitamin D a day. The recommendation increases to 800 IU a day for adults age 71 and older. Although many people get adequate amounts of vitamin D from sunlight, this might not be a good source for everyone. Other sources of vitamin D include oily fish, such as tuna and sardines, egg yolks, fortified milk, and vitamin D supplements.
  • Include physical activity in your daily routine. Weight-bearing exercises, such as walking, jogging, tennis and climbing stairs, and strength training can help you build strong bones and slow bone loss.


  • Avoid substance abuse. Avoid smoking and don’t drink more than one alcoholic drink a day.

Your memory:brain health

  • Eat a healthy diet. A heart healthy diet might benefit your brain. Focus on fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Choose low-fat protein sources, such as fish, lean meat and skinless poultry.
  • Include physical activity in your daily routine. Physical activity increases blood flow to your whole body, including your brain. This can help keep your memory sharp.
  • Stay mentally active. Mentally stimulating activities help keep your brain in shape — and might keep memory loss at bay. Do crossword puzzles. Take alternate routes when driving. Learn to play a musical instrument.
  • Be social. Social interaction helps ward off depression and stress, which can contribute to memory loss. Look for opportunities to get together with loved ones, friends and others.

Save the Date…

the gathering The Gathering is an annual statewide event bringing together women who have participated in Wisconsin Women’s Health Foundation’s programs.  The Gathering is held at Ministry Saint Joseph’s Hospital in Marshfield.

Since 2002, the Gathering has provided women an opportunity to meet old and new friends and attend workshops on health information and resources they need to be healthy.  The event is designed to engage and energize attendees, to teach new information applied in real life, help with goal setting, and create support networks.  Participants learn to become better advocates for their health and that of their families in a way which allows them to create balance, wholeness and wellness in body, mind, and spirit.

This year’s Gathering will be held on Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at Ministry Saint Joseph’s Hospital in Marshfield.  Click HERE for this year’s agenda.

Space is limited and pre-registration is required.  There is no cost to attend; conference materials and lunch are provided.


Fruit & Veggies – More Matters

Not only is school starting up again, but it is “Fruit & Veggies – More Matters” month. That means it’s perfect timing to start packing those school lunches with more of those sweet fruits and crunchy veggies.

fruits and veggies

Here are some easy ways to pack more of these healthy foods:

  • Pack a salad in a mason jar. It’s the perfect way to pack your kids off to school with some extra veggies
  • Use veggies as the wrapper! Lettuce or kale can be used as wraps. Fill them with your kids favorite sandwich ingredients.
  • Pack chips. No, not potato chips, veggie chips. Kale cihps, green bean crisps, zucchini chips and apple chips are all delicious. Thinly sliced and made crispy, the kids won’t even know the difference!
  • Those mason jars…are just too wonderful. Pack it full with layered yogurt, fresh fruit, and granola for your fruit fill.
  • Make a homemade trail mix. Let your child go to the grocery store with you and have them pick out dried fruits and nuts. Combine whole grain cereal for an easy trail mix.
  • Shish kabobs aren’t just for the grill. Use a kabob stick to alternate between fresh strawberries and cheddar cheese cubes.

And these lunches aren’t just for the kids, try them for yourself when you’re on the go!

What fruits and veggies are your favorite to pack?

Happy Labor Day!

labor day

Ever wondered why you got the first Monday off every September? Read on:

Labor Day, always the first Monday in September, is dedicated to the achievements of American workers. It is a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to our country.

The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on September 5, 1882, in New York City. Then, in 1884 the first Monday in September was selected as the holiday and the Central Labor Union urged other cities to celebrate the “workingmen’s holiday” on that date.

The first proposal of the holiday said it should be celebrated with a street parade to exhibit “the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations” of the community, followed by a festival for the amusement of the workers and their families. The Sunday preceding Labor Day was adopted as Labor Sunday and dedicated to the spiritual and educational aspects of the labor movement.

The character of the Labor Day celebration has undergone a change in recent years. Now, Labor Day addresses by leading union officials, industrialists, educators, clerics and government officials are given wide coverage in newspapers, radio, and television.

It is appropriate that the nation pay tribute on Labor Day to the creator of so much of the nation’s strength, freedom, and leadership — the American worker.

On Staying Youthful

What is it about that co-worker or friend who is always in a good mood, who seems wise beyond her years but has that youthful energy you crave? Do you miss the simple insight of childhood? As summer continues, we want to encourage you to stay youthful – mentally youthful.

Don’t know how? Here are some tips for you!

1. Forget those nagging, non-essential numbers. You got it, forget about your age, weight and height! Instead, focus on how you are feeling.


2. Surround yourself with cheerful friends. Those grouchy ones will pull you down with them!


3. Continue learning. Don’t let your brain become idle. Do you have a fascination with computers, crafts or gardening? Learn more about them!


4. Laugh. Laugh often, long and loud. We’ve often heard of the health benefits in laughter – so, laugh away.


5. Don’t stress about things out of your control. You will have plenty of time to deal with things as they come. If you can’t control it, don’t worry yourself about it.


6. Cherish your health. If you’re in good health, embrace and preserve it. If your health is unstable, improve it. If it is beyond what you can improve, seek help from your loved ones and professionals.

Dementia - Front of Postcard

7. Say, “I love you.” Say it to all those you love and every opportunity you have.


Now enjoy the rest of your summer and remember these 7 tips to staying youthful.

2013 Summer Newsletter

Enjoy an electronic copy of WWHF’s 2013 Summer Newsletter!



Meet Jane

Jane Jenson

Jane Jenson
Stoughton, WI
LakeView Church

What made you want to become a FCN?

I have worked in the hospital setting for most of my 30 plus years as an RN.  Most of that experience has been in geriatric and mental health nursing.  So being present with someone who is going through a difficult time and helping families as they watch their loved one going through difficult times has been a lot of who I am.  About 3 years ago I thought about going back to school to become a counselor for grief or bereavement.  I talked with Peg Weber, whom I worked alongside in mental health nursing before becoming a parish nurse and she pointed out that I was already an RN and that Parish Nursing might be the path I was looking for. Soon after that discussion I registered for the Parish Nurse Preparation course through Marquette University and I began my journey to become a parish nurse.  I began volunteering at LakeView that fall and have expanded my ministry gradually over these past 3 years.

How did you get involved with the GrapeVine Project?

Peg Weber was instrumental in urging me to look into the education. But, it is the teaching part that really appealed to me. Health Education and the idea of sharing with my congregation & the greater community really drew me in. LakeView Church is all about reaching outside the church walls.  I like that the GrapeVine Project is teaching women and reaching whole families through the women who attend the educational sessions.

What is your favorite part of the GrapeVine Project?

Again, the health education is important to me. I really like presenting the units. It provides me with a means of connecting with people, people who I may not ordinarily connect with.  The sessions are a way of getting folks to open up and start a conversation. I also like meeting the people who work at the various sites where I have presented.

What is a little known fact about you?

For quiet time, I like to write, especially poetry.  My more active hobby is to ride with my husband on his Harley Davidson motorcycle.  We have ridden to Sturgis, South Dakota; Niagara Falls, Canada; and many other local rides.  I tell people that sitting behind by husband and going very fast increases my faith and strengthens my marriage.  (I always wear my helmet!)

Jane and co.

Has there ever been a participant who contacted you after a session and you were able to help someone specifically because of the session?

Yes! After giving the pilot session of the “Healthy Aging Brain”, a close friend whom had attended was faced with moving her aging parents and the resulting hospitalization of her mother. It had been apparent for some time that her parents need to be closer and would require attention more consistently, but the session and resulting conversations we have had have contributed to a smoother transition.

Anything else you would like to share?

My husband, Jim, and I have 4 children, 2 boys and 2 girls. Their ages range from 16-26 years. We live in Oregon, WI.  Jim and I met on Jacksonville Beach in Florida and had a long distance relationship for a year prior to our engagement.  I lived in Tennessee and he is originally from Wausau, WI and was working for a company in Tennessee at the time.  It was a God-thing that we were both on that beach in Florida.  We married and moved to Madison, WI and then settled here in Oregon.

I will be embarking on my first mission trip with a team from my church this October. Our team consists of 18 men and women who will be traveling to the Dominican Republic to serve with Kids Alive International in Constanza. We will be painting murals on the walls around the Kids Alive campus, hosting children and adults from the community near the school and orphanage at a worship service, and providing a dental clinic for the kids. You can bet I will bring along my giant tooth brush and set of teeth from the GrapeVine Project’s dental session!  (And the information in Spanish!)