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…]

Artificial Sweeteners in Diet Products May Cause Weight Gain

Photo: Uwe Herman/CC BY-SA 2.0

We recently posted a blog on the artificial sweeteners in diet soda. Are they harmless or hurtful? The research we found suggests they certainly have an impact on the body. In summary, artificial sweeteners can:

  • Change the way your body processes real sugar;
  • Change your body’s gut bacteria for the worse; and
  • Place you at a higher risk for type 2 diabetes.

Read more about that here.

Now, more information has come in from new study findings published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. According to this month’s issue of Time, the findings show that artificial sweeteners may actually cause weight gain rather than helping people lose weight; they can also contribute to other health problems, like: [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…]

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…]

3 Reasons You’re Half as Likely as an Olympian to Have Cavities

The 2016 Olympic games in Rio are over, and you now know which U.S. champions brought home the gold, silver, and bronze medals. Here’s something you don’t know about the Olympians, whether they don from the U.S. or another part of the world: three-quarters have gingivitis.

Overall, Olympians have high levels of poor dental health, including cavities and dental erosion. In fact, as an American adult, you’re half as likely as an Olympian to have cavities, as Ars Technica reports. That deserves a gold medal, in our book!

The findings, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, come from a 2013 study conducted of 302 Olympic athletes who competed in 25 sports at the 2012 Olympics in London. Does the data seem puzzling to you? We thought it might, as high-level athletes seem to epitomize strong physiques and excellent health that enable them to compete. Here are some of the reasons why Olympians may be thriving in their sport but suffering in the oral health department: [Read more…]

4 Fun Articles to Get Back Into School Mode

PreschoolAugust is here, which means summer vacation is nearing its end and the school year its beginning. Are you and the kids ready? If not, we’ve got just the thing you need to get back into school mode: four fantastic articles on everything from maintaining a sleep schedule and overcoming the mad dash to school in the morning to keeping up the brushing routine. First day of school? Bring it on! [Read more…]