4 Daily Do’s for National Dental Hygiene Month

October is National Dental Hygiene Month! We appreciate our hard-working dental hygienists every day of the year. Dental hygienists play a critical role in promoting oral health, and they make your twice-yearly visit to the office fun and seamless. This month, health care professionals across the nation are spreading the word to help dental hygienists maintain healthy smiles.

Take part by helping your little ones remember these four daily care basics: [Read more…]

Happy National Dental Hygiene Month

Photo: makelessnoise/CC BY 2.0

October is National Dental Hygiene Month! This month, health care professionals across the nation have been spreading the word to help dental hygienists maintain healthy smiles. We know you spend a lot of time helping your little ones brush their teeth, drink plenty of water, and develop a healthy attitude toward going to the dentist. It’s not always easy, and we’re here to help!

Our award-winning blog is full of fun and useful information on every aspect of kids’ oral hygiene. Here are some of our readers’ favorite topics: [Read more…]

Healthy Gums for a Healthy Mouth

Photo: Healthy Smiles

For September’s National Gum Care Month, we joined dental practitioners and healthcare advocates across the nation to highlight the importance of healthy gums for a healthy mouth. What do healthy gums look like and why are they important? Here are some essential facts about gum health for your family:

What do healthy gums look like?

Healthy gums are pink in color, but this can vary based on complexion to include tan or light brown. Healthy gums are also firm versus swollen or puffy.

Why are healthy gums important?

While cavity prevention is often the first thing that comes to mind for mouth health, healthy gums are also important. Your gums are a thick tissue that surround and protect your teeth. Healthy gums are not just important to your mouth, but your overall health. Studies show that those with periodontal disease have a higher risk of diabetes and heart disease. [Read more…]

7 Back-to-School Health Checks

Now that you’ve had a few weeks to settle in to the school routine, it’s time to check in with your kids’ health. During this busy transition period, many important health considerations are easily forgotten. We’re here to help—here’s a checklist of 7 important to-dos for maintaining the basics of good health, from the start of the school year, and all year long!

  1. Health records. Your child’s school needs current medical records on file. Has your child completed the required medical and dental checkups? Immunizations should be up to date, consent forms signed, and sports participation cleared if your child plans to try out for a school team.
  2. Hearing and vision. Sometimes, a student can struggle in school, and the reason is because they cannot see the teacher’s instructions on the chalkboard or hear the lesson. All the more reason to schedule the annual physical; hearing and vision tests should all be taken care of there. [Read more…]

Fun Facts: Pets Have Baby Teeth, Too!

It’s fun to tell kids that puppies and kittens are a lot like their owners in this way—they have two sets of teeth in their lifetime: baby teeth and adult teeth. Of course, the process of losing baby teeth happens a lot more quickly for our furry friends. Here are more fun facts about the temporary chompers of our beloved household animals:

  • If you’ve ever had a puppy or kitten, then you’ve probably felt their baby teeth. They’re sharp! These pets have sharp but brittle baby teeth to help them chew food while their jaws are still developing. It also helps to wean them off of mom’s milk as mom nudges them toward other sources of food.
  • Puppies begin to get baby teeth (called deciduous teeth by vets) when they’re about three to six weeks old, and these make way for permanent teeth when they’re about four to eight months old. Adorable, right? [Read more…]

Alameda Schools Featured in San Francisco Chronicle

The topic of safety during recess was recently featured in the San Francisco Chronicle, and Alameda schools provided the examples. Play is important to learning, but as Jill Tucker reports, Bay Farm Elementary and Paden Elementary approach the rules of play differently.

Tag is not allowed at Bay Farm Elementary. Neither is running nor going up the slide. The idea is for children to return home in the same shape they arrive to school in, Principal Babs Freitas explained to the Chronicle. Safety, kindness, and responsibility are the cornerstones of play at this school.

Some parents agree with this philosophy; others think it’s equivalent to “bubble-wrapping” their kids. [Read more…]

Is Diet Soda Better for You than Regular Soda?

Photo: Bunny Jager/CC BY-SA 2.0

Diet sodas contain artificial sweeteners, including saccharin, aspartame, sucralose, and neotame, among others. You’ll recognize them in sugar substitutes such as Sweet n’ Low, Equal, and Splenda. However, according to PBS, research sheds the following doubts on the integrity of artificial sweeteners:

They can change how your body processes real sugar. That’s because taste receptors signal the body to release hormones to digest sugar, even when it’s fake sugar on the tongue. With long-term exposure to artificial sweeteners, the body’s metabolism can be altered.

They can change your body’s gut bacteria for the worse. One study, published in Nature.com, states that this alteration can even induce glucose intolerance.

They can place you at a higher risk for type 2 diabetes. According to a study published in BMJ, neither artificially sweetened beverages nor fruit juice are likely to be healthy alternatives to sugar-sweetened beverages for the prevention of type 2 diabetes. [Read more…]

Babysitter’s First Aid Checklist

Photo: Bridget Coila/CC BY-SA 2.0

Having a reliable babysitter is an asset to every parent. But even the most reliable sitter may not know the ABCs of first aid. Make sure to go over the following points with your sitter before you leave them alone with your little ones for the first time:

When to Call 911
Your babysitter should call 911 when they need help right away. According to Healthfinder.gov, this includes when someone is seriously hurt, stops breathing, or if there is a fire. Another emergency could be a stranger trying to get into the home. The babysitter should be prepared to tell the emergency operator your address, phone number, and nature of the emergency quickly and calmly. [Read more…]

3 Risks of Gummy Vitamins

Soft and chewy gummy vitamins are becoming more popular, especially with kids, but a new Parents.com article warns parents that these colorful vitamins have a downside. Parents recently interviewed pediatrician Natalie Muth, MD, RDN, coauthor of The Picky Eater Project, who shared the following three pitfalls: [Read more…]

Bubble Tea Is as Unhealthy as Soda

Photo: Abi Porter/CC by 2.0

Also known as boba tea, bubble tea is an Asian drink that consists of tea mixed with fruit, flavored syrups, or milk accompanied with tapioca pearls. Originally a beverage of Taiwan, it’s become quite popular for both adults and children in the U.S. in the last decade. However, experts have been sounding the warning bells, stating that boba tea can be just as unhealthy as soda. Here are some stats:

  • KABC reports that a 12-ounce serving of boba tea contains almost 90 grams of sugar. That’s more than double a 12-ounce can of Coca Cola, which contains 39 grams of sugar.
  • The Asian and Pacific Islander Obesity Prevention Alliance launched the “Rethink Your Asian Drink” campaign, stating that boba tea has more sugar than a Snickers bar. The coalition has also reported a 68 percent increase in diabetes in Asian and Pacific Islanders in L.A. County between 1997 and 2011. [Read more…]