TMJ & Sleep Therapy Centre

Three Ways to Get More Vitamin D in Your Diet


If staying out of the sun or adopting a vegan diet is on your list of new year’s resolutions, you’re probably patting yourself on the back for committing to such healthy lifestyle choices. But, since both those habits may lower your level of Vitamin D intake, you may need to add taking a supplement to your “to-do” list.shutterstock_106905146

Vitamin D is essential for maintaining strong bones, as it works with the calcium you ingest from your diet. Dangerous levels of Vitamin D deficiency lead to soft bones and skeletal deformities, but even mild deficiencies have been associated with various cardiovascular and cognitive issues, and even cancer.

Although Vitamin D is produced naturally in the body in response to exposure to sunlight, and is found in a select number of foods, making sure you get enough can be tricky. The Institute of Medicine’s Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of Vitamin D is 600 international units (IU) for everyone under the age of 70, although many physicians feel that might be too low. However, getting too much could be toxic. How to find the happy medium? Focus on incorporating natural and fortified sources of Vitamin D into your diet and talk to your doctor about whether you need to take a supplement.

Here Comes the Sun

How many articles have you read about the dangers of unprotected sun exposure? Yet, our bodies need the sun to help produce Vitamin D on our own. Fortunately, you don’t have to slather yourself with tanning oil and lay out on your lawn to get enough sunlight to produce sufficient levels of D – at least not during the summer.

About 20-25 minutes of skin exposure to sunlight without sunscreen a couple times a week is typically enough to produce adequate levels of Vitamin D.  However, during the winter in most parts of the world, it can be difficult to get enough rays. Since we can’t recommend spending an extended amount of time in the sun because of skin cancer risks, make sure to include other sources of D, as well.

Go Fishing for D

 Adding fatty fish like salmon, herring and tuna to your diet is a great way to incorporate more Vitamin D. Three ounces of salmon provide about 450 IUs of Vitamin D, so depending on your appetite, you could get your entire daily dose in one meal!

Although fresh fish contains higher levels of Vitamin D, canned fish is also a good choice. Canned wild salmon and tuna last longer on your shelf and can provide up to 150 IUs.


Cereal and Milk: Breakfast of Vitamin D Champions

Fish can be an acquired taste, so if it’s not your preference, look for other dietary sources of Vitamin D.

Fortified cereals, milk and orange juice can knock off your Vitamin D RDA before lunchtime. Some cereals and oatmeals contain up to 100 IUs per 1 cup serving. And almost all cow’s milk in the United States is fortified with Vitamin D, providing about 100 IUs per 8-ounce glass.

No matter your lifestyle, there’s a way to incorporate adequate levels of Vitamin D. And, what to do if you’re a low carb, lactose-intolerant, fish-hating vampire?  Talk to your doctor about including a Vitamin D supplement in your diet.
Vitamin D helps keep your bones and teeth strong. Make a resolution to keep your smile healthy this year. With locations in Alexandria, VA and Washington DC, DC Smiles provides a holistic approach to dental care that incorporates total-body health and wellness. Learn more at

Holiday Sleep Tips

The holiday season is synonymous with the traditions of tranquility and relaxation with friends and family. But, instead of “peace on earth”, we’re more likely to be dealing with “stress on the brain,” as we attempt to rush through our gift-buying, decorate our houses, prepare for parties, make travel plans and more!

With little time to get what can seem like an overwhelming amount done, something is bound to be pushed to the bottom of our of list – and more often than not, it’s quality sleep. But, although you may think you can just make up those hours later, lack of regular sleep is linked to depression, overeating and risk of illness.

The holidays are not going to suddenly get less busy, so it’s up to you to pace yourself and focus on keeping healthy habits throughout the season and the rest of the year. Not sure how that’s possible? We’ll give you some tips:

Stick to a Normal Sleep Schedule

Late night parties, staying up wrapping gifts, midnight caroling sessions – the reasons NOT to sleep during this season seem endless. But without regular snoozing, you’ll lack the energy to keep up with all the activities that bring meaning to the holidays.

As much as possible, stick to your regular sleep schedule each night, rather than putting off those hours of rest. Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, regardless of your plans. Keeping it consistent will reinforce your sleep cycle and ensure you’re getting the rest you need.

Don’t Eat (or Drink) Two Hours Before Bedtime

The holidays are all about eating and drinking – but doing so too close to bedtime can cause stomach issues and interrupt your sleep schedule. Big meals can take hours to digest and make your body work harder during the night. Plus, sugar-laden, starchy desserts wreak havoc on your energy levels and may keep you up at night while making you feel sluggish during the day.

A nightcap (or two) may seem like the perfect way to end a holiday party, but even if you initially fall asleep easily, alcohol processed by your body may hamper your quality of rest. Alcohol also negatively affects your amount of REM sleep – an important cycle that happens during your sleep schedule to refresh and repair your body.

You KNOW you’re going to go off your diet during the holiday season – so don’t try to deny yourself some treats. But, keep ample time between feasting and bedtime, and try to walk off that last slice of pie before turning in.

Get Regular Exercise

Who has time to exercise during the holidays? – is what you might be thinking. But sneaking in a workout or two will help keep stress levels down and improve your sleep quality

Remember, exercise isn’t only defined as time spent at the gym. Take a brisk walk around the neighborhood. Join some friends for a wrapping party. Laugh as much as possible. Try to find activities that combine a festive spirit with your physical exertion – and knock off a couple of turtledoves with one snowball.

Getting adequate sleep during this time of year may seem like another item on your holiday to-do list that will never get done, but regular rest will empower you to make it through all the seasonal activities that you hold near and dear with joy and cheer to spare.

Keeping your teeth healthy is an important objective too – during the holidays and all year round. With locations in Alexandria, VA and Washington DC, DC Smiles provides a holistic approach to dental care that incorporates total-body health and wellness. Learn more at

The Potentially Harmful Ingredients in Sugar-Free Gum

Chewing gum may seem like a harmless habit. After all, what damage could that tiny, minty strip of freshness possibly do, right?

Unfortunately, gum is quite threatening in a number of ways. The repetitive motion of chewing has been linked to headaches and temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), and several common ingredients in chewing gum are even linked to cancer. Furthermore, the lack of awareness is compounded by the common misconception that sugar-free gum is a smart alternative, despite the fact that this perceived “healthier” option introduces yet another wave of potentially harmful ingredients, such as:


The main ingredient in Equal, Aspartame has been linked to an astounding 92 different side effects ranging from dizziness and fatigue to oral sensory issues. While the American Cancer Society says that this sweetener is safe “for most people,” others with an amino acid defect called phenylketonuria are at risk of brain damage from the chemical phenylalanine found in aspartame. Alternative medicine expert Dr. Joseph Mercola adds that aspartame is metabolized into formaldehyde, which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency lists as a probable human carcinogen.

Acesuflame Potassium

Acesuflame Potassium, also known as Ace-K, is 200 times sweeter than sugar. It hasn’t yet seen a definitive verdict on a possible link to cancer, but the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) suggests that Ace-K’s original tests in the 1970s were brief and flawed. So basically, as of right now, it may cause cancer or it may not.

“My assessment? It’s not yet certain that there are no health risks associated with Ace-K,” says Duke University professor Bill Chameides.


At 320 to 1,000 times sweeter than sugar, sucralose appears to be the ideal artificial sweetener. The problem with this major Splenda ingredient, Chameides says, is that its chemical makeup is very similar to sugar, except with chlorine atoms in place of hydroxyl. While sucralose doesn’t appear to have any link to cancer, Dr. Mercola challenges its FDA approval, which was based off of only two short studies. He bases his stance on the fact that animal studies involving sucralose showed a decrease in red blood cells, which in humans is linked anemia, male infertility, enlarged kidneys and more.


Oral health is the key to overall health, and “cooked up” concoctions like those mentioned above can be equally if not more harmful to your teeth than plain old sugar. Just like candy bars are synonymous with cavities, you should associate artificial sweeteners with dental erosion. Pair that with the overall dangers of chewing any type of gum and you’ve got yourself a recipe for diminished physical health down the road.

For more information on how to take better care of your oral health, visit Dr. Lawrence Singer of DC Smiles.

The Truth about Fat and Cholesterol

Our perception of a “good” diet has come to say cholesterol and fat are the bane of our existence, posing as a health risk to us. This is, in fact, misleading as outdated research has only perpetuated this type of thinking. Americans were told to reduce their fat intake as a way to combat things like heart disease; this in turn caused them to increase their carbohydrate and sugar intake at the same time. The increased intake of sugar is actually more likely to have caused greater risk for health disease than fat and cholesterol ever have. Now, dietary suggestions by the government no longer claim that cholesterol and fat are a dietary risk, but the decades of misinformation has caused people to think otherwise.

How Much Sleep Do Teenagers Really Need?

According to Dr. Judith Anne Owens of the Children’s National Medical Center, recommendations made by organizations such as the National Sleep Foundation need to be adhered by, but she wants parents to understand the sound science behind these recommendations. Firstly, it is generally known that sleep is an essential part of physical and mental health; however, there is some slight variation in the amount of sleep depending on the individual. But, this does not mean that parents should just let teenagers sleep whenever they say their sleepy, rather they should look for signs that they are actually not getting enough sleep. These signs can include:

  • Having a difficult time getting up in the morning
  • Being sleepy during the day
  • Sleeping for significantly longer periods during weekends and vacations

Though many parents and teenagers argue that sleep is time that could be used to be productive and doing their schoolwork, this is not necessarily true. Sleep is actually a necessary and productive time for the brain to organize the day’s events. Studies that correlate testing scores with little amount of sleep actually do not account for health risks associated with little sleep such as:

  • Increased risk of obesity
  • Higher risk of being in an car accident
  • Increased risk of depression and suicidal thoughts

There is abundant evident that teenagers are healthier both physically and mentally when levels of sleep such as those recommended by the National Sleep Foundation are adhered. Contrary to certain studies, sleep is an essential time, especially for a developing brain, that cannot be shortened without consequences to one’s health.

Blog was based on article:

The True Cause of Heart Disease

Ever hear that high cholesterol leads to heart disease? Well that scientific “knowledge” that says fatty diets are bad for you and statin drugs that control your cholesterol isn’t as sound as we once thought it was. In fact, heart surgeon, Dr. Dwight Lundell openly admits that recommendations to go on certain diets and lower cholesterol do not work! The actual cause of heart disease is inflammation in the artery wall!

It is this inflammation that causes the accumulation cholesterol to build up in the blood vessel wall causing heart strokes and heart disease. Inflammation is meant to act as a healthy way for your body to fight bacteria and viruses. But, due to our modern day over processed diets we are exposing our bodies to toxins everyday, thus causing chronic inflammation.

Chronic inflammation is caused by many foods, but particularly it is caused by a significant imbalance in the intake of Omega-6 and Omeg-3. Processed foods tend to contain lots of Omega-6, therefore leading to this imbalance. Highly processed carbohydrates also have this same effect on inflammation, as extra sugar in the body attaches to protein that attach the blood vessel wall.

So it goes to show that what has been preached for years concerning low fat diets is not true! The only way to help repair your body, is to limit processed foods intake and eat more natural foods.

Aluminum may trigger Alzheimers

As we have learned from previous blogs, mercury is not good for us, neither is other metals such as aluminum. In fact, aluminum is a known neurotoxin, that is actually much more present in our everyday lives than one would think. And according to Keele University professor, Christopher Exley, increased exposure to aluminum is associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

Aluminum’s toxicity even causes symptoms akin to those of dementia, ADHD, Parkinson’s and other disease to become present. This, in turn, gives reason to associate aluminum toxicity with a myriad of diseases. However, it is not solely aluminum that can play a part in the development of such diseases, but it is aluminum alongside other toxins such as fluoride and glyphosphate.

Here are some of the things that aluminum can be found in:

-Foods such as flour, salt, processed foods, and even baby formula

-Certain Vaccines such as Hepatitis A and B

-Cosmetics and items such as deodorants

-Tins, water bottles, and cans

Though a small proportion of aluminum that is ingested is ingested orally, this is a large amount, especially when considering it is over the course of a lifetime.

But you can start to avoid aluminum by avoiding things like:

-Processed foods and drinks including processed foods like mechanically deboned chicken

-Dental amalgam fillings (mercury fillings)

-Statin drugs and other aluminum containing drugs

To read the full article that this blog was based off of, go to this site:

False Advertising of Supplements

Recently, it has been publicized that some herbal supplements that are sold at major retailers such as Wal-Mart, Target, Walgreens, and GNC do not actually contain the herb or plants that are advertised. Some of these products do not only contain false advertising, but they do not list common allergens that could put certain people at risk. Due to both of these issues, these stores have been ordered to stop selling a number of products.

DNA tests have been run on a variety of these supplements, showing that most of these products contain different plants than those that are advertised or other substitutions. Due to the fact that supplements do not count under products that must be approved under the Food and Drug Administration, there is little regulation in regards to supplements. According to a 2012 paper that was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, a lack of regulation in terms of supplements has been associated with a multitude of issues, including kidney failure and hepatitis.

Although some of these companies have chosen to remove offending products, this issue continues to pose a risk to consumers everywhere.

To read more from the original article about this, go to this link:

Type 2 Diabetes: You’re Not Immune to It

Often times we automatically link certain stereotypes like obesity with diseases like diabetes, when in fact they are distinct and separate diseases. Those that are thin and fat can have diabetes, but in the case of those with type 2 diabetes, factors for attaining it include: activeness, diet, and weight. Specifically, type 2 diabetes is caused by the inability of the things like fat cells resisting insulin. Insulin when working properly is supposed to move sugar into cells, where this can later be used as energy for the body. So, those with type 2 diabetes end up building up high levels of sugar in the blood, as it is not being converted to a source of energy. But, maintaining a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise, a good diet, and staying a healthy weight can prevent type 2 diabetes. One thing to remember is that type 2 diabetes is not immediate; it is generally a gradual process that can be accelerated due to things like increased fat as it can contribute to higher blood sugar levels. Unfortunately, type 2 diabetes is not always visible and sometimes does not have symptoms show for long after it has been attained. Some symptoms include: being famished, increased thirst, and even increased urination. So, do not wait until symptoms start to show, change your lifestyle now to prevent the onset of diabetes and to live a more healthy life.

The Faults of Sleeping Pills 11-6

pills spilling out of bottle   More and more people are using sleeping pills! According to Ian Oswald of the University of Edinburgh not only does this inhibit going through the stages of sleep, but it can even lead to having withdrawal effects if used too often. There are many stages the body goes through during sleep, and the consumption of some sleeping pills may stop the body from going through REM sleep. Once one returns to using sleeping pills frequently they can go through withdrawal symptoms, ultimately worsening sleep. Oswald states that these symptoms can include:
-Only achieving short periods of sleep
-Too much REM Sleep
Although these effects are only temporary, they can last up to 6 weeks and sleep cannot be “gained” back. Overall, if you’re having sleep issues see your doctor to get an initial review or even come to our TMJ & Sleep Center to see if you have a sleep disorder.