Russell and Bode Family Dentistry

Solid as a rock!

Over the past several months my super sweet 12 year old twin neighbor girls Katie, Alli and I have painted over 100 kindness rocks. We’ve been spreading them throughout the neighborhood and leaving a basket full with a note. Take one for encouragement and share one for motivation. #Goodvibesonly! Painting rocks has been a great way to be creative, express kindness, and it  leaves you with a simple smile.

Oral health and the dementia patient

Oral care for loved ones with dementia can be difficult and even frustrating. This subject is near and dear to me as my mom just recently passed away from lewy body dementia. All aspects of her care become more challenging. With my mom, despite my best efforts and intentions often things would just not go as planned.

Keeping up with oral health for your loved one suffering from dementia is important, as poor oral health can lead to such things as gingivitis, gum disease and heart disease. It can cause bad breath and may begin to affect their ability to eat and chew. Dementia patients are often required to take multiple medications which can lead to dry mouth. The lack of saliva can make eating more difficult and may even cause irritation to the tongue.

Brushing our teeth is automatic for most of us but with dementia your loved one may have trouble remembering the steps. Modeling it for them or doing it together may make it easier for them and allow you to evaluate how well they are brushing. Brushing before bed is ideal and that should be kept going as long as possible. However it may ultimately, be necessary to pick times during the day that are less combative and calmer. An electric toothbrush, if tolerated, or a thick handled tooth brush can be of help if dexterity issues are present. Using fluoridated toothpaste is best, make sure to only a pea size amount as swallowing may occur. A mild mouth rinse, such as closys, can benefit, as long as they are capable of swishing without swallowing. It will help with inflammation, bleeding and plaque control. Be as consistent as possible with flossing by utilizing floss picks, inter proximal brushes or picks.

Consider having their teeth cleaned more frequently. Every three months can significantly reduce plaque and tarter allowing for more frequent evaluation for decay which is more prevalent with dry mouth.

If your loved one wears dentures it is important to take them out daily and clean them. While removed, inspect and clean gums and roof of their mouths with a soft bristle brush.

If there is refusal to cooperate, take a break, never force or pry their mouth open.

Although, the aforementioned oral care is easier said then done, the loving care you are providing will have a positive impact towards their comfort and overall health.

These, of course, are the ideals and on any given day, only some or maybe none will be possible. Be loving, consistent, and don’t sweat the bad days.

How do you show empathy through a mask?

How Do You Show Empathy Through a Mask?

          I was so excited to get back to work, feeling like I am giving back to society and keeping my patients healthy and in tip-top shape, but then I thought about what getting back to work in the dental field entails. Yes, we wore a mask with our patients during treatment before COVID, but now we are required to wear a mask at all times. Not just any mask, but a hot, stuffy, uninviting N95 mask, which must be worn even when we are greeting our patients at the front door of the office. I know a lot of things have changed and most of the new protocol is manageable, but this welcoming our patients into the office with a N95 mask on is where I struggle.

I am the type of provider that enjoys building rapport with my patients through smiling, eye contact, conversations about family, hobbies and sports, shaking hands, hugging (when appropriate and professional) and the occasional touch on the shoulder for reassurance or trust. This is the way I have operated for my entire dental hygiene career and feel it has created a welcoming, positive and trusting environment for my patients, but now I am feeling lost. How do I convey all the non-verbal acts without touching or being able to show my smile?

Well, a least I can still have eye contact and conversations with my patients. The conversations, of course, are muffled through 3 layers of masks and shields, but good thing no one has ever taken me for being quiet so I have that going for me. I have been trying really hard to stay positive about COVID, this situation in particular, and feel that a positive outlook has kept my spirits up. In all reality, the part that has made this conflict a little easier is the understanding of my patients with me during this time. My patients have been thankful, patient, kind, and most importance understanding (I think I already said that). This environment surrounding me has made me forget about the extra layers we are wearing, because we all are wearing them and concentrate on the real connection which is the actually conversation. I also feel that patients can still tell when I am smiling, because I use my eyes and my words to express my smile. Joking about smiling under my mask and that my hair is brown under my new fancy hair cover just in case they were wondering helps too.

Everyone says this, but we truly are all in this together. For me, being passionate about my job and patients has helped me stay positive, try my hardest to overcome my normal non-verbal mannerisms and stay patient when things start to pile up and get hard. My love for people has kept my spirit up and allowed me learn to communicate in a new way, through all the layers separating us. Finally, my genuine care for the community that surrounds me has made getting up in the morning to go to work and put on my N95 mask for a full day worth every second!

Please welcome Tracey!

Tracey has been in practicing dentistry for the past 9 years, graduating from Eastern Washington University with her B.S. in Dental Hygiene. She continued on to receiving her M.S. in Health Education in to further her passion and commitment to overall health. This passion and commitment lead her to become involved in the Seattle King County Clinic, where she is part of the dental leadership team to provide care for the community.

Tracey enjoys building rapport and relationships with her patients to provide oral health care in a friendly, inviting and safe environment. She says that the best part of her job is to bring a smile and confidence to someone’s life, even if for one day. She is excited to continue to work with all of our patients to provide specifically designed care to achieve and maintain ultimate oral health care.

When Tracey is not at work, she is spending time with her family. Being from Olympia, she has several family members in the area and enjoys attending all events from her nieces’ sporting competitions to celebrating birthdays and graduations. She also enjoys taking her dog, Tucker for walks and taking in the breath-taking scenery the Northwest has to offer.

Tracey is looking forward to meet you and creating a long lasting relationship by providing a relaxed and inviting environment for the dental care. Let her give you the gift of confidence and a smile.

Welcome to the world Mila Grace!

Joey, one of our hygienists had a beautiful baby girl!

Mila Grace

Born May 31st, 2019 at 2:45 AM

7 lbs 10 oz   –   20 inches

What is obstructive sleep apnea?

What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a collection of disorders characterized by periods of shallow breathing or complete pauses in breathing during our sleep. These disruptions can range from brief pauses in breathing, lasting between 20-40 seconds, to a complete obstruction lasting 1-2 minutes. These disruptions are usually short but they are enough to disrupt sleep patterns, cause snoring, and create multiple health-related issues during the day.

It’s estimated as many as 6% of adults suffer from some sort of sleep apnea and that up to 10% of children suffer. It is also suspected that up to 90% of cases are undiagnosed. The most common type of disorder is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). OSA occurs when the soft tissues in the back of the throat relax during sleep and block the airway. This usually happens as a result of the tongue and soft tissues in the oral cavity lacking proper strength and falling to the back of the throat.

Many OSA sufferers are unaware of their condition, as it usually only manifests during sleep. The initial symptoms such as fatigue or headache are not exclusive to sleep apnea, allowing the condition to go undiagnosed for months, years, or even decades. In children symptoms can manifest as bedwetting, clenching and grinding teeth, snoring, waking up throughout the night, irritability and behavioral issues. In adults symptoms can manifest as abrupt awakenings, daytime sleepiness, mood changes, depression/anxiety, dry mouth, high blood pressure, snoring, or morning headaches and neck tension.

Sleep apnea symptoms can occur in healthy adults and children and are generally minimal cause for concern. If they become chronic, however, it’s time to investigate the condition more thoroughly.


“Tongue Ties, How a Tiny String Under the Tongue Impacts Nursing, Speech, Feeding, and More”

Dr. Russell recommends listening to this interview about the “Tongue Tied” book by Dr. Richard Baxter, a pediatric dentist. He is interviewed by a medical doctor (ENT), Steven Park, who’s focus is sleep disorders and related issues. This is a great listen for expecting parents, parents of children with nursing, speech, eating, and/or sleeping problems, and adults who deal with TMJ pain, sleep problems, and head and neck pain, as well as health care providers of all types. If you have concerns about yourself, your child, or a loved one who may suffer from a tongue or lip tie, let us know!

Interview About Tongue Tied Book with Dr. Richard Baxter [Podcast 55]


Toothbrush Hygiene

Our toothbrush is something most of us probably don’t pay much attention to. We use it (hopefully) twice a day while mindlessly brushing, daydreaming or worrying about all the things we need to get done for the day. Perhaps after reading this, you will give your brush a few seconds consideration before sticking it in your mouth.

By nature, our toothbrushes are a potential breeding ground for bacteria, due to their location in our bathrooms. The dark, damp environment and close proximity to the toilet (ew!) promote bacterial colonization and contamination. In fact, it is estimated that at any given time, 10 billion microbes are living on our brush! Below are some tips to help keep that number in check and ensure a safe and sanitary brushing experience:


  • Change your brush every 3-4 months. This is especially important for electric brushes, as their effectiveness dramatically decreases when bristles are worn out
  • Change your brush immediately after illness to avoid reinfection
  • Allow your brush to airdry in an upright position, bristles upward. If you use a toothbrush holder, make sure to clean and disinfect it regularly
  • Do not use bristle covers. They inhibit drying and promote bacterial growth
  • Do not microwave your brush to disinfect it. It will not work, and can actually breakdown the plastic bristles
  • Keep your brush as far away from the toilet as possible, and close the toilet lid before brushing. Flushing creates aerosols that contain harmful bacteria, which can land right on your brush!

“If you are losing faith in human nature, go out and watch a marathon.” – Katherine Switzer

I am a runner. One of those annoying neon wearing, high-five giving, pavement pounding types.  And yes, I may just tell you how far I ran on Saturday in the (insert extreme weather condition here).  But bear with me!  My reasons for running go beyond the endorphin rush and cool fashion statements.

I run…..

  • Because it makes me feel alive! I know, I know.  How can something that can make you feel like you’re dying, simultaneously make you feel alive?  But it’s true. When your blood is pumping and your lungs are filling with air your body is buzzing with life.  After all, you are on THIS side of the pavement.
  • Because it helps me control stress. There’s nothing like a good cortisol burning session after a stressful week!  Couple that with the company of my running club friends at a local pub and life feels in balance again.
  • Because of the running community here. There is something very special about the inclusivity and diversity of this running tribe.  We come in all shapes, sizes and abilities.  Their love, support and laughter have enriched my life.
  • Because: Snot rockets. ‘nuff said.
  • Because I am blessed to be able to run when there are those who can’t. #StJudesKids
  • Because of cake.
  • Because I’ve learned that I can push through pain and doubt and come out on the other side with a greater understanding of who I am and what I am capable of.

Katherine Switzer said, “If you are losing faith in human nature, go out and watch a marathon.”

I couldn’t agree more.  The witnessing of raw perseverance and elation at a finish line is both inspiring and humbling.

Look for your Russell and Bode team to participate in a 5K later this year!