Aug. 9, 2011
Kristine Hodsdon discusses how two courses ar RDH Under One Roof 2011 reaffirm the importance of lifestyle to our overall health.

Two of the many courses presented at the RDH Under One Roof conference, “Inflammation: Are You Burning to Know the Facts? Explore the Periodontal Systemic Disease Connection,” by Marilyn Cortell, RDH, MS, FAADH, and “The “New” Periodontal Disease: Navigate the Emerging Solutions” by Maria Perno Goldie, RDH, MS, addressed inflammation and factors that regulate the inflammatory responses.

In addition, Maria contends that “when we know that a person’s genetic makeup cannot be changed, the way certain genes are expressed in certain tissues can be affected by lifestyle choices ... nutritional factors ... stress, depression, and salivary cortisol were correlated with measures of periodontal disease.”

It seems everywhere we turn, there are new stats telling us why we need to pay serious attention to our lifestyle choices.

In 2009, I wrote a column, "Laughter and Periodontal Disease." Here’s an excerpt: “What we know pathogenic bacteria from microbial biofilm can begin tissue destruction and permeability of gingival tissue that can lead to gingivitis and periodontitis. They ignite the host immune-inflammatory response. Proinflammatory molecules and cytokine networks are part of the process. Inflammatory markers and cortisol are found in gingival crevicular fluid and saliva. Inflammatory mediators such as interleukin-1, matrix metalloproteinase, IL-1b, B and T cells, enzymes, lipids, and proteins are part of these cascading events. Using the analogy of a three-legged stool — nonsurgical and surgical approaches to treat periodontal diseases and pharmaceuticals (systemic and locally applied) represent two of the foundational periodontal legs. The third leg is self-care.”

I had a lot of conversations during UOR, and you, the readers, in general love what I have to say about how good sleep, food, mood, and exercise not only make us feel better, but also help us do better at work. Yet, two of the objections I hear most often from employers, potential clients, and my hygiene entrepreneurial colleagues is that time and wellness at work is costly (then I hear that we aren't too sure if wellness adds value to the bottom line) .

So in response to the above doubts, I bundled some previous Director's messages (see below). Then, over the next few months, I will begin to provide some stats and new findings about improving workplace performance and productivity, and well-being.

For starters, I’d like to point out a finding issued from research headed by Nico Pronk, PhD, at Journey Well, that states that the cost of productivity loss (including absenteeism and presenteeism) for employees who have poor food habits, are physically inactive, smoke, and overuse alcohol is about five times higher than that of employees who adopt the reverse, healthier habits.

And ...

Turning one of these four behaviors from unhealthy to healthy decreases the associated costs by an average of $790! This is very concrete evidence that lifestyle hygiene impacts your productivity. Make it a formal commitment to yourself. Remember, it's not an indulgence, but a productivity-enhancement strategy!

Here is the aforementioned bundle for your reading pleasure:

Laughter and Periodontal Disease

Ten Ways to Build a Positive Attitude

Belly Up to the Bar

Dealing With Change at Work

Kristine A. Hodsdon, RDH BS
Director, RDH eVillage