Word of Appreciation

Updated: 02/25/2011

Author Links Success to Milford Connection

By Julia Cooper
The Milford Weekly
September 10, 2004

Former New Haven resident Sheila Wolf has accomplished a great deal over the course of her life. She has worked for the last 33 years as a dental hygienist, starting out her career in Connecticut and continuing now in San Diego. She has traveled to places both far and near, working on a Kibbutz in Israel and teaching in a one-room schoolhouse in Kentucky’s impoverished Appalachia. Her most compelling accomplishment, however, is also her most recent.

‘If I can teach a mother how to save a baby’s life or how to save her baby’s natural teeth for life, that is what really matters to me,” Wolf said.

Wolf published her first book, “Pregnancy and Oral Health: The critical connection between your mouth and your baby” in June of 2004. While the book is a first for the author, it is also a first for the industry and would not have been possible without the presence of a certain person in Wolf’s life.

“My mother taught at Central Grammar School,” said Wolf. “I observed how easy things seemed between my mother and her students, and how much respect they had for her. I made a decision at around 11 or 12 that I would also become a teacher.”

Wolf’s mother, Nora Wolf Pollock taught in the Milford School system for 16 years. Pollock is now retired in Florida, leaving her plenty of time to “swim and recreate,” according to her daughter. It was that time spent in Milford, though, that really rubbed off on Wolf.

“I remember conversations I had with my mother about how the Milford School system gave their teachers a lot of room to be creative in their teaching methods. I am discovering that I too select situations in dental hygiene that allow me to be creative and innovative in my approach towards education.”

Wolf’s book reflects that view. Called a “holistic” approach to gum care, her book teaches mothers-to-be the proper way to clean the mouth and gums in order to prevent gingivitis, which can lead to much more serious concerns during pregnancy.

“A mouth with infected gums is a conduit for germs to spread all over the body,” Wolf said. “Bacterial infections in the mouth can affect the heart and respiratory systems.”

In a pregnant woman, this can result in pre-term and low birth weight babies. As a matter of fact, women with gingivitis are seven times more likely to give birth to a premature baby, which in turn creates an entirely new set of problems for the mother and her newborn. Wolf’s holistic approach to mouth care, however, can head these problems off at the pass.

“It is so important for people to know that gingivitis is a bacterial infection,” said Wolf. “If you have a finger infection, you don’t cut the finger off, you use antibacterial treatments. It is the same in the mouth and that means brushing, flossing and irrigation, not surgery.”

Wolf is currently at work on her second book, “Your Mouth Could be KILLING You,” which is geared toward all segments of the population. More information about Sheila Wolf can be found at www.mamagums.com.

Mama Gums