Do I Have Bad Breath?

From ALLtech dental provider Delta Dental of Washington

There’s nothing quite as embarrassing as realizing that you have bad breath. Whether you had just a bit too much garlic for lunch or you ran out the door without brushing your teeth, bad breath is a cloud that hangs over you for the whole day.

But exactly what causes bad breath is more complicated than you might think. Here are a few common reasons why you might be suffering from halitosis:

  • Poor dental hygiene habits
  • Consuming food and beverages such as garlic and onions
  • Low-carb diets (i.e. Atkins, Keto) can often result in bad breath
  • Dehydration, not drinking enough water
  • Mouth, nose and throat infections
  • Tobacco use resulting in “smokers’ breath”

Taking just a few simple steps can have your mouth feeling refreshed and ready to get up close.

  • Brush and floss twice a day
  • Use an antibacterial toothpaste that gets rid of bacteria and plaque
  • Replace your toothbrush once every two months
  • Visit your dentist for regular preventative check-ups

For a more in-depth look at the reason for halitosis and a full list of all the ways you can help, read our blog post on the Common causes of bad breath and how to fix them.

Vaccines Protect Us All — At Every Stage of Life

From ALLtech medical provider Regence BlueShield

World Immunization Week, April 24 to 30, is a great time to remember that keeping up to date on vaccines is critical to preventing the spread of infectious disease. The World Health Organization (WHO) celebrates this week annually to promote the use of vaccines, which prevent 2 million to 3 million deaths worldwide every year from diseases like diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, influenza (flu) and measles.

The WHO’s theme for 2022’s World Immunization Week is “Long Life for All.” And check out the recommended schedule for immunizations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) so you can talk with your doctor about whether you or your children are up to date on what you need to stay healthy.

“Immunizations can save your child’s life and protect others you care about,” said Dr. Drew Oliveira, senior executive medical director for Regence. “Nobody wants to see the return of deadly diseases that have long since been eradicated or nearly so. Vaccines are safe and very effective.”

This year’s campaign comes at a time when public health officials have reported a shocking decline in vaccination rates and vaccine orders since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is likely due to disruptions in the ability to seek routine care and general vaccine hesitancy.

However, guidance from the CDC says it’s critical for everyone to stay up to date with their vaccinations — especially as the pandemic continues. As communities continue to open, it’s an important time to catch up on missed vaccinations so we can all help prevent outbreaks of preventable diseases.

ALLtech members can get vaccinated at no cost

Most Regence health plans — including those available through ALLtech — cover 100% of the cost of vaccines, including for the flu, measles, pneumonia and childhood immunizations, as a preventive benefit. Members can check the complete preventive care list at

Do You Grind Your Teeth? Maybe it’s Stress

From ALLtech dental provider Delta Dental of Washington

When it comes to stress, we’re all aware of the physical – and mental – tolls it can take. Increased sweating, anxiety, rapid heart rate, depression, restlessness, social withdrawal, and changes in mood and behavior are some of the most common signs you’re dealing with a lot of pent-up stress.

But sometimes, stress presents in the mouth in the form of teeth grinding, or bruxism, which can have detrimental effects on the health of your teeth and gums.

Some of the common symptoms may include:

  • Teeth grinding or clenching, which may be loud enough to wake your sleep partner.
  • Teeth that are flattened, fractured, chipped or loose.
  • Worn tooth enamel, exposed deeper layers of your tooth.
  • Increased tooth pain or sensitively.
  • Tired or tight jaw muscles.
  • Jaw, neck or face pain or soreness.
  • Pain that feels like earache.
  • Dull headache.
  • Damaged from chewing on the inside of your cheek.
  • Sleep disruption.

April is Stress Awareness Month and we’re calling attention to the hidden ways stress wreaks havoc on your smile.

For more information of bruxism, check out our blog. If you’re concerned you might be grinding your teeth, visit or schedule an appointment to see your dentist.

Need a dentist? Use our Find a Dentist tool to locate a provider that’s right for you!

Explore Breathing, Movement that Harmonizes with Spring to Nurture Well-Being

As winter gives way to spring, the days are becoming longer and nights shorter. Around us, we see evidence flourishing, as plants and trees leaf out and blossom, bird nests become filled with hatchlings. Spring is in the air, and yet we may feel some dissonance between our own sense of weariness and the energy and new life we’re observing in the natural world. If we can pay attention to the way we respond to the changes in light and temperature, we can line up with this season of new growth to enhance our own well-being.

Wellspring EAP, which offers the employee assistance program to ALLtech members, invites you to make the most of the season with help from its webinar on “Seasonal Practices to Nurture Well-Being: Spring,” from noon to 1 p.m. Thursday, April 14, 2022. In this session, we will explore breathing and movement practices that harmonize with spring, which can help to cultivate growth that we long for in our own lives.

About the Trainer
For over 20 years, Janet Novinger, MA, has worked — both externally and internally — as an organizational consultant in the greater Seattle region with more than 200 client companies. In her trainings, Janet draws from her experience as a manager and a consultant, a master’s degree in Whole Systems Design from Antioch University Seattle, and her work teaching adaptive yoga to people with challenging health conditions. An energetic, resourceful and creative professional, she specializes in high-performance cultures, strengthening employees’ resilience, and building their capacity to be effective team members. Her time at Wellspring Employee Assistance Program gave her solutions-focused experience working with some of the most challenging problems organizations and leaders experience.

We Don’t Talk About Colorectal Cancer (Enough)

From ALLtech medical provider Regence BlueShield

Talking about colorectal cancer can be uncomfortable but pushing through the discomfort is crucial to finding it early — when it is most treatable. There is no better time to start this conversation than now during Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.

Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in men and women in the United States. It is expected to cause more than 50,000 deaths this year. And yet, if found early, it’s one of the most treatable forms of cancer.

Get screened

The best way to find colorectal cancer early is through screening, which is covered as preventive care by most health plans including Regence. According to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and the American Cancer Society, regular colorectal cancer screening should start at age 45 for people at average risk. (This recently changed from 50 years old.) People who are at high risk for colorectal cancer may need to begin screening before age 45.

The most well-known screening method is colonoscopy. If the thought of a colonoscopy makes you hesitant to schedule an appointment, you have options. Speak with your doctor about an at-home stool test or a sigmoidoscopy, which is a less invasive form of screening than a colonoscopy. Getting screened is most important; find the option that works best for you.

Get talking

  • Talk to your family to find out your risk for colorectal cancer. Ask if anyone in your family has been diagnosed with colorectal cancer and how old they were when it happened.
  • Talk to your doctor to learn what screening method works best for you.
  • Talk to your insurance company to understand your coverage for preventive screenings for colorectal cancer.

While it’s far from a favorite topic of conversation, talking about colorectal cancer is a lot easier when you know it can be caught early and treated with regular screenings. Remember, a little bit of discomfort could lead to a lot of prevention.

Trails Abound at 9 Lesser-Known King County Parks

Hoping to take advantage of the “false spring” weather gracing the Seattle area this weekend? The Washington Trails Association has plenty of recommendations in its Winter Destinations corner, but we wanted to highlight their list of 9 Lesser-Known King County Parks that offer options for every athletic level.

“Parks and greenspaces dot the map from the northern reaches of Lake Washington to the outskirts of Enumclaw, and from the beaches of Vashon Island to the shores of the Snoqualmie River,” says the post.

Consider the Preston-Snoqualmie Trail, shown above, offering a 6.5-mile trail that connects the riverside towns of Preston and Snoqualmie and features a viewpoint of Snoqualmie Falls.

Or head to Vashon-Maury Island, where you can take a jaunt along the 3 miles of trails throughout Maury Island Marine Park, or take it a bit farther with the extensive 9-mile trail system throughout Dockton Forest.

In Auburn, the 1,000-acre Green River Natural Area might be just a few miles from downtown Auburn, “but it feels worlds away with its fern-covered big leaf maples and meandering trails.”

For more ideas from the Washington Trails Association, check out the full list of 9 Lesser-Known King County Parks.

Know Your Risk Factors and Prioritize Your Health During American Heart Month

From ALLtech medical provider Regence BlueShield

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, claiming more lives than all forms of cancer combined. Although heart disease can affect anyone, women are particularly at risk. Many women are unaware of the risk factors for heart disease, which makes them more vulnerable. In fact, the symptoms of a heart attack are different for women and knowing how to spot them could save lives.

February is American Heart Month — a time to reflect on and bring awareness to the widespread impact of heart disease across the country. This includes National Wear Red Day on Feb. 4 when the American Heart Association (AHA) helps encourage women in particular to take charge of their heart health.

For Tonya Adams, Regence’s senior vice president of customer experience and operations and long-time supporter of AHA, this year’s American Heart Month is particularly personal. In June of 2021, her mother passed away from a stroke, an unexpected loss of a loved one who Tonya describes as the person who took care of everybody — and yet her mother ultimately didn’t do enough to take care of herself. Watch the video below to hear more of Tonya’s story.

Take charge of your heart health

Family medical history is a key risk factor for both heart disease and associated symptoms like high blood pressure and cholesterol. Make sure you know about your family’s health history and talk with your primary care provider (PCP) about your personal heart health during your annual physical.

Nearly 80% of cardiac events can be prevented by making small lifestyle changes like moving more, eating healthy and managing blood pressure. Health plans also offer wellness tools and other resources, including the Regence Empower well-being platform that’s available to most members. Experts on offer self-care resources and wellness tips, and those who need extra support may reach out to Regence’s care management team.

Regence and the AHA look forward to raising heart health awareness throughout the month of February and beyond.

1-in-5 People with Diabetes Don’t Know They Have It

From ALLtech medical provider Regence BlueShield

November is National Diabetes Month, a time to raise awareness of a chronic condition that’s far more common than many people realize.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 34 million people in the U.S. — 10 percent of the population — have diabetes. Another 88 million people — more than a third of adults in the U.S. — have prediabetes, where their blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough yet to be diagnosed.

People with diabetes are unable to manage how much glucose exists in their bloodstream. Glucose, a type of sugar, is the main source of energy for the cells in our bodies. A hormone called insulin controls glucose levels, and people who have diabetes often require insulin injections to help maintain healthy glucose levels.

The different types of diabetes

There are three types of diabetes — type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is, by far, the most common, representing about 90 percent of people with diabetes. It’s usually diagnosed in adults, and type 2 diabetes is both preventable and sometimes reversible through weight loss, exercise and a healthy diet.

Type 1 diabetes is a chronic condition where a person’s pancreas doesn’t make enough insulin, usually diagnosed in children. The third type is gestational diabetes, which develops for some pregnant women who have never had diabetes.

Over the last 20 years, the number of adults diagnosed with diabetes has more than doubled. It’s the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S., and people with diabetes are twice as likely to have heart disease or a stroke, and more likely to have serious complications from COVID-19.

How to prevent developing diabetes

Type 2 diabetes sneaks up on us. It develops over many years, and the symptoms are often not noticeable. Eighty-four percent of people who have prediabetes don’t know they have it, and one in five people with diabetes don’t know they have it.

The known risk factors for prediabetes and developing type 2 diabetes include:

  • Being overweight
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Age (45 or older)
  • Genetics — e.g. having a close relative with type 2 diabetes

If you have risk factors, talk to your doctor about getting your blood sugar tested. ALLtech members also have access to health plan resources for managing and preventing diabetes — more information is available on the Regence site.

Regence’s Dr. Drew Oliveira shares helpful diabetes information

Watch the short video above for helpful tips, including the importance of staying current with your screenings, ways to reverse prediabetes and prevent type 2 diabetes, and what you can do if you are diagnosed.

Prepare Your Workforce for Cold and Flu Season with Regence Webinar on Nov. 4

ALLtech medical provider Regence BlueShield* is sharing some of its own unique strategies with a member webinar at 9 a.m. November 4 on Solutions you can implement today to prepare your workforce for an unusual cold and flu season:

The kids are going back to school. Some of us are going back to onsite work (or never left it). And the holidays are on the horizon. How can you ethically encourage your employees to proactively manage their health heading into the fall? In this session, Dr. Jim Polo will share his tips, tricks and tools to mitigate absenteeism during a cold and flu season in the midst of a COVID resurgence.

In the second half of this session, we’re pulling back the curtain in today’s changed world. You’ll hear from Chief Human Resources Officer Elizabeth Cole on how our HR team is meeting the needs of our organization’s 5,000 employees and their families.

This webinar is a can’t-miss for those who want to benchmark their own strategies against best practices and insights from medical experts and fellow employers. Have questions now? Please submit them when you register, and we’ll have our guest speakers address them live.

Session participants are eligible for 1.0 Professional Development Credits (PDCs) for the SHRM Certification Program (SHRM-CP® or SHRM-SCP®). For more information about SHRM certification or recertification, please visit

*Asuris Northwest Health services ALLtech members in Asotin, Adams, Benton, Chelan, Douglas, Ferry, Franklin, Garfield, Grant, Kittitas, Lincoln, Okanogan, Pend Oreille, Spokane, Stevens and Whitman counties.

Wellspring EAP Offers Back-to-School Resources for ALLtech Members

Another school year has begun and many of us are still holding uncertainty, anxiety, and fear for our children (or the children in our lives) and for our families.

While there is much outside of our control, there are things we can do, and strategies or approaches we can embrace to help support our well-being and the well-being of our families.

Wellspring EAP, which provides the employee assistance program for ALLtech members, is offering two webinars in October to help families and individuals cope with the continuing uncertainty.

On October 7, 2021, ALLtech members are invited to join Wellspring EAP and Emily Cherkin, MA, Ed, for the webinar Parent and Family Mental Wellbeing in a Still-COVID, Still-uncertain School Year, from noon to 1 p.m.

Emily Cherkin, MA Ed, is an internationally recognized consultant who has worked with families and schools over the last fifteen years. In addition to navigating the challenges of parenting in a distracted digital age, Emily also facilitates parent workshops, professional development training, and school presentations that take a “tech-intentional” approach. Emily is also mom to 13-year-old Max and 9-year-old Sylvie, who present daily thrills and challenges. Emily holds a Master’s Degree in Education (with a focus on Conflict Resolution and Peaceable Schools) from Lesley University in Cambridge, MA. She has taught Middle School Humanities, English, and a curriculum based on screentime, media literacy, and bullying for ten years at Seattle Academy of Arts and Sciences (SAAS). She has also worked as an academic coach for children and adults with executive function challenges, including ADHD. Emily has appeared in the New York Times, on Good Morning America, and on The Today Show (twice!). She is also working on a book about parenting and screentime.

Also in October, Wellspring EAP is offering the webinar Understanding Suicide: A Learning Conversation, which will explore questions such as: What makes someone at risk of suicide? How has COVID-19 impacted mental and emotional wellbeing? What kind of support is proven to help reduce risk? What are some good resources I can turn to help support myself or someone in my family or community?

The webinar from noon to 1 p.m. on October 13, 2021, will start with a brief learning session from Dr. Jeffrey Sung, who will then be joined by Teresa Lupinacci, LMHC, CDP from the Wellspring EAP team as they respond to attendee questions.

Jeffrey Sung, M.D. is an acting instructor with the University of Washington Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Since 2002, his clinical responsibilities have included direct service and consultation in the care of individuals facing homelessness, medical illness, substance use and psychiatric conditions. He has taught psychodynamic theory, suicide risk assessment, and managing response to patient suicide to psychiatrists, general physicians and mental health clinicians. In addition to work with the university, Dr. Sung also maintains a private practice.

Teresa Lupinacci, LMHC, CDP is the Clinical Manager for Wellspring EAP, and has worked in Employee Assistance Programs for 19 years. She started her career working in the substance abuse treatment field and local school districts, upon finishing her graduate degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Bastyr University, she was the treatment director of a dual diagnosis treatment program, then opened a private practice. She also has training in Critical Incident Stress Debriefing, Mental Health First Aid, Substance Abuse Prevention and Intervention, DOT reasonable suspicion for substance use, and Motivational Interviewing. Teresa is the President for the Pacific Northwest chapter of Employee Assistance Professionals Association.