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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a tongue brush, a tongue scraper or special cleaners. Mouth rinsing is another important oral hygiene practice. Choose your mouth rinse carefully. Some rinses have fluoride intended to decrease cavities, but this does nothing for gum disease or bad breath. Other rinses are meant to be used prior to brushing. The best types of mouth rinse for gum disease and bad breath – which are of great concern for people with diabetes – address bacteria and their byproducts that contribute to these problems. Mouth rinses containing oxidizing agents are recommended, and they should also be sugar-free. Another concern for people with diabetes is the amount of alcohol in a rinse because it has a drying effect. Saliva plays an important role in oral health. Anything that dries out oral tissues is likely to increase oral health problems, including the potential for bacterial growth.

Diabetes is linked to increased periodontal disease, tooth decay and tooth loss. Periodontal disease is a chronic bacterial infection that affects the gum and bone supporting the teeth. It begins when the bacteria in plaque causes the gums to become inflamed. It is a serious infection that, if left untreated, leads to tooth loss. For diabetic patients, it can be life threatening. People with diabetes are more likely to have periodontal disease than others; more than 70 percent of diabetic patients also have periodontal disease. This is probably because diabetics are more susceptible to infections.


Research suggests the link goes both ways: Periodontal disease may make it more difficult to control blood sugar and uncontrolled blood sugar can make it more difficult to eliminate periodontal disease. Severe periodontal disease can increase blood sugar. Research has shown that after treating periodontal disease, it is easier to manage a patient’s diaetes.


Diabetes increases the likelihood of tooth decay. “In diabetic patients, due to the slow glucose metabolism rate and low immunity, a high glucose level in saliva leads to bacterial infection, resulting in diabetic oral manifestations like swollen gums,” said Dr. Vikas Goud. “The insulin, which would have helped in glucose metabolism, is now used to fight infections. Therefore, the sugar level goes up further, posing a risk to

DIABETES AND DENTAL HEALTH

ANGELA S. HOOVER

Angela is a staff writer for Health & Wellness magazine.

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diabetic patients. Once the sugar level comes down, the swollen gums become normal.”


A recent study from the University of Buffalo School of Dental Medicine showed people with diabetes were more than twice as likely to lose all their teeth than people without diabetes. A cohort study from 1971 to 2012 found this risk is highest in non-Hispanic blacks.


Oral Care for People with Diabetes


Regular oral hygiene and visits to the dentist are imperative for people with diabetes. Teeth should be brushed at least twice daily with a soft brush. When possible, brush them about 30 minutes after meals. Brushing with soft bristles is important because stiff bristles or brushing too vigorously can damage the gums and increase the potential for dental problems. Teeth should also be flossed at least once a day.


Tongue brushing is a good practice for oral health. You can use a tooth brush,