HELP YOUR CHILDREN GROW AND LEARN

A healthy, nutritious diet helps children grow and learn. It also helps prevent weight-related diseases, such as diabetes and obesity. Children need different amounts of specific nutrients at different ages. They need to eat three meals daily and have healthy snacks in between. The more active your child is, the more calories he or she needs. Here are some ways to encourage your child to follow a nutritious diet:

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SODIUM AND YOUR HEALTH

Sodium is an essential mineral for life. It is regulated in the body by the kidneys. It helps control the body’s fluid balance, affects muscle function and helps send nerve impulses. An Australian study showed the brain responds to sodium in the same way it responds to substances such as cocaine and heroin, which may explain why we tend to overindulge in high-sodium foods.

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HEALTHY EATING TIPS

A balanced healthy diet should contain a variety of nutritious foods and sufficient vitamins and minerals. Such a diet can help you maintain a healthy body weight and reduce your risk of many diet-related problems, such type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers. It’s recommended men have around 2,500 calories a day and women 2,000 calories a day. Studies indicate eating a typical Western diet filled with packaged meals, takeout foods, processed meats and sugary snacks may lead to stress, high rates of depression....

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After the child is 3 years old, you can increase the amount to pea-sized. While your child may want to take brushing into his own hands, the parent should do the brushing or assist the child until he is 7 or 8 years old. As soon as the surfaces of the teeth touch one another, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests beginning flossing, assisting until the child is 10 years old.


Caring for your teeth should be part of your daily routine. The Oral Health Foundation recommends brushing twice a day; cleaning in between your teeth at least once a day using interdental brushes or floss; and changing your toothbrush every two to three months. A toothpaste with fluoride will strengthen tooth enamel, which in turn helps fight decay.


The American Dental Association says regular dental visits are important because they can help spot dental health problems early, when treatment is likely to be simpler and more affordable and larger problems can be prevented. Some medical conditions or diseases have symptoms that can appear in the mouth, so a dental visit can impact your overall health.

The Louisville Courier-Journal reported some statistics that were far from praiseworthy regarding Kentucky’s status when it comes to dental health. The newspaper said dental and oral health problems, such as cancer or other diseases of the mouth and gums, remain a significant challenge in Kentucky. It also found Kentuckians have a high rate of adults over 65 who have had all their natural teeth extracted, with about 25 percent of adults having no teeth, making Kentucky the fifth worst in the nation. The Courier-Journal also reported 22 percent of women in the state smoke during pregnancy, heightening their risk for oral health problems. And because of elevated tobacco use, Kentucky has some of the nation’s highest rates of oral cancer. While there is a lengthy list of benefits of quitting smoking, do not forget smoking can lead to gum disease, tooth loss or staining and even mouth cancer.


The Colgate Oral Care Center says it’s important to visit a dentist every six months for a regular checkup and professional cleaning. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommend children be seen by a dentist within six months of the eruption of the first tooth or 12 months of age, whichever comes first. Good oral hygiene should be a priority from birth. The AAP says before teeth erupt, a baby’s gums and tongue should be washed with a wet cloth after feedings. Brushing should start with a soft-bristled, small-head brush with fluoride toothpaste in an amount no larger than a grain of rice.

AN OVERVIEW OF TRENDS AND TOPICS IN DENTISTRY

JAMIE LOBER

Jamie Lober is a Staff Writer for Health & Wellness Magazine

more articles by Jamie Lober

The Oral Health Foundation says dental anxiety is one of the most common phobias in the world, with nearly a third of all adults dreading the dentist and one in 10 having a phobia so strong they actually avoid making visits to the dentist. If you are afraid of the dentist, let him or her know about your anxieties and fears so he or she can tailor your treatment accordingly. You may able to listen to music to help you relax or try sedation dentistry.