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…]

UK Study Shows Rise in Baby Teeth Extractions

Photo: Wikipedia Commons

According to new research, more children are having to get their baby teeth removed, before the teeth can fall out naturally. The research, conducted by the UK’s Faculty of Dental Surgery (FDS), part of the Royal College of Surgeons, came up with the following findings, as reported by The Telegraph :

  • There were 9,206 tooth extractions performed on children aged four and under in 2015-16, an increase of 24 percent since 2006-07.
  • Of the 84,086 tooth extractions on four-year-olds and under between 2006-07 and 2015-16, 47 were performed on babies under the age of one. [Read more…]

What’s in Store for National Children’s Dental Health Month


February is National Children’s Dental Health Month (NCDHM).
All month long, dental professionals, healthcare providers, and educators will come together to promote the benefits of good oral health. Each year, the theme for NCDHM changes. For 2017, the theme is “Choose Tap Water for a Sparkling Smile.” Here are just some of the reasons why tap water is best:

  • Soda contains caffeine, known to cause everything from jitters, upset stomach, and headaches to difficulty concentrating, difficulty sleeping, and increased heart rate and blood pressure.
  • A 12-ounce soda contains about 10 teaspoons of sugar. [Read more…]

5 Ways to Care for Your Teeth When Pregnant

It’s a new year, and for those who are pregnant, a time to prepare for new life. Taking good care of your baby begins with you during this important stage. When you’re expecting, even your teeth could use some TLC. Here are five ways to care for your teeth when pregnant:

  1. Switch to a softer toothbrush. This will help you to apply gentle pressure to your gums. According to BabyCenter, “about half of moms-to-be have swollen, red, tendergums that bleed when flossed or brushed.” This is due to pregnancy gingivitis, or mild inflammation of the gums during pregnancy. Rising hormone levels can be partly to blame for your gums’ sensitivity to bacteria in plaque. This leads us to the next point…
  2. Take good care of your gums. Did you know that periodontal disease during pregnancy is linked to premature birth and low birth weight? Along with periodontal disease, the March of Dimes cites gingivitis and tooth decay as conditions that pregnant women are more susceptible to. We’ve got a secret weapon for your gums—floss! [Read more…]

Seal of Approval for Dental Sealants

SmilingChildAlameda Pediatric Dentistry strongly encourages the application of dental sealants. A safe protective coating, sealants act as a physical barrier that blocks plaque from accumulating in hard-to-clean grooves and pits of molar teeth. Covered by most dental policies, sealants take just a few minutes to apply, and the process is completely painless.

This month, the Centers for Disease Control released a Vital Signs report that includes the following important findings on sealants: [Read more…]

Halloween Candy Survival Guide

halloween-fairyAll year long, kids look forward to the magic and fun of Halloween. Parents enjoy the costumes and trick-or-treating, too, but the thought of all that candy can be troublesome. Whether you raid the candy bags to the benefit of your coworkers, sell the candy at a buyback, or ration it in some other way, much of the sweets will end up with your kids. To help you sort through the Halloween bags with them, here’s a summary of MouthHealthy.org’s rundown of common candies:

Chocolate: Of all the Halloween candies your kids will receive, chocolate is best because it washes off teeth more easily. Choose dark chocolate when possible, as it has less sugar than milk chocolate. Chocolate can also be good for you. Read our article, A Delicious Secret, to find out more.

Sticky and Gummy Candies: “Be picky if it’s sticky,” MouthHealthy advises. We agree. Sticky and gummy candies are harder to remove and could result in cavity-causing bacteria staying on the kids’ teeth longer. [Read more…]