Category: General Tooth Care Info

Helpful Dental Tips: Bad Breath

Bad breath, scientifically known as halitosis, can be a symptom of several different things.  It could be an indicator that your oral hygiene practices need to be brushed up, or it could be a sign that you have some larger lifestyle practices that need reevaluating.  Here’s a look at the most common causes of bad breath and ways to help reduce this troublesome symptom.

You Are What You Eat

            When it comes to your breath, the foods you ingest on a regular basis really make a difference.  As is commonly known, strong smelling foods like onions or garlic will cause your breath to smell strong.  The reason for this is that these foods get into your bloodstream and travel to your lungs where they are exhaled in your breath.  Onion or garlic breath won’t go away until your body has thoroughly digested these foods.

Regular coffee and alcohol consumption can also lead to strong, stale breath.  Due to the dry mouth that both beverages promote, saliva production is reduced, thereby allowing bad-breath causing bacteria to stay in your mouth longer.  Smoking is, of course, another habit that will cause strong breath as well as other negative health issues.

With food or beverage related bad breath, it is good to get in the habit of drinking lots of water.  Water is a naturally cleansing liquid that helps promote saliva production that in turn washes the mouth by dissolving odorous food particles and bacteria.  Try to get in the habit of swishing your mouth out with water after meals if a toothbrush and floss aren’t handy.  Also, studies have shown that after dinner breath mints can further agitate bad breath rather than squelching it.  The sugar in the breath mint only further adds to the development of odor producing bacteria.  Try a sugar-free chewing gum that’s sweetened with xylitol instead. Xylitol has been shown to prevent bacteria growth within the mouth, helping keep your breath fresh and healthy.

Oral Hygiene

            As would be expected, bad breath can often be a result of poor dental hygiene.  If you’re not flossing regularly in addition to brushing, food particles caught between your teeth will begin to attract bacteria and smell, causing bad breath.  Make a habit of flossing regularly and brushing at least twice a day.  Make sure that you’re cleaning your tongue as well.  Your tongue can hold onto food particles, so it’s good to make a habit of brushing or scraping it regularly.  Antibacterial mouthwashes can also be added to your daily regimen if the problem persists.  If bad breath persists, a change in toothbrush might be in order, such as a Sonicare toothbrush that will keep your teeth free of plaque and other stubborn debris.

Persistent Bad Breath

            If bad breath persists for an abnormally long period of time, it could be an indicator of a bigger  concern.  Make sure you’re maintaining good oral hygiene to keep down on plaque build-up.  An overabundance of plaque can cause gum disease or irritation, which can, in turn, cause bad breath.  Persistent bad breath can also be a symptom of a respiratory infection such as pneumonia, bronchitis, or a sinus infection.  It can also be an indicator of liver or kidney problems and sometimes, even diabetes.  Be sure to visit your dentist   every 6 months.  This will keep your mouth healthy and give you a chance to seek  advice if health concerns such as bad breath persist.

Sources:

http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/bad-breath

http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/features/bad-breath-good-and-bad-foods

http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/features/get-rid-bad

The Most Harmful Foods for Dental Health

It’s easy to get caught up in the habit of snacking.  You’re having a long day, your children are hungry, and so you grab something easy for them to eat in the car while you finish running errands.  A few packets of fruit snacks or bags of goldfish won’t do instant damage, however it’s good to be aware of just how often you resort to feeding both you and the little ones these kinds of sugary foods.  For their dental health, it’s good to know what happens when those sticky food particles stay on teeth for too long.  Here is a look at potentially harmful foods (and beverages) that you should try to keep to a minimum in your family’s diet:

Drink Up

            There’s nothing more wholesome than starting your child’s day off with a glass of orange juice—or is there?  While oranges, grapefruits and lemons are all a wonderful source of vitamin C, they are also very acidic which can be detrimental to teeth.  This is not to say stop serving orange juice with your eggs and pancakes, but rather to make sure that you   brush after breakfast.  Also, take a look at the sugars in your orange juice.  The average glass contains only 10 grams less of sugar than orange soda!  So  give juicing a try.  The orange juice will be fresh and delicious without all of those unneeded (and damaging) grams of sugar.

Coffee, while also a very acidic beverage, is known mostly for its staining power.  Studies have shown that coffee stains can sometimes be even more stubborn than those caused by tobacco use!  Stains themselves seem more like an aesthetic problem, however what you may not know is that heavily stained teeth can become almost sticky in texture making them more prone to bacteria build-up and, eventually, decay.

Soda and other carbonated drinks are easy to reach for throughout the day when you want a little boost of caffeine. All parents know to keep sugar to a minimum in their children’s diets, but when it comes to soda, sugar isn’t necessarily the biggest tooth decay offender.  Many assume that if they’re drinking diet soda  that they’re saving their teeth, however these lower calorie options are just as harmful.  All soda, even diet and low calorie, contains both citric and phosphoric acid.  These acids   do the real damage by eroding the enamel on your teeth.  It’s best to keep your soda consumption as simply a mealtime treat.  This will limit your mouth’s overall exposure to the harmful acids.

As kids get older, it becomes more and more common for them to reach for sports and energy drinks for electrolyte replenishment after a soccer game or a boost of caffeine after a long school day.  Don’t run out and stock up on these just yet though, as they are more harmful than soda. Look for some natural electrolyte supplements instead, or choose the sports drink with the least amount of sugar to help keep your kids energized throughout the day.

None of these beverages need to be eliminated from your diet in order to keep your teeth healthy, however it might be good to talk to your dentist.  Find out what your mouth’s weakness is and learn if there are certain things that you should try to avoid more than others.

Snack Attack

            When it’s late afternoon and the satisfaction of lunch is starting to wear off, it’s tempting to reach for the easiest thing in the pantry: a can of Pringles,   goldfish, a handful of crackers.  What you may not realize is that starchy foods like these are full of refined carbohydrates.  You wouldn’t think it, but carbohydrates can actually be quite bad for your teeth because when chewed, crackers and chips become like a paste.  This paste then adheres itself to every nook and cranny of your teeth’s surfaces.  This paste, when left, begins to break down and erode your teeth’s enamel.  So next time you want to snack on a bag of chips, make sure you floss and brush shortly after to ensure that refined carbohydrate paste doesn’t get stuck and have an opportunity to cause harm.

 

Sweet Tooth

            Chewy candies such as taffy, caramels, gummy bears, and fruit snacks are, of course, not the healthiest choice for your teeth.  They’re sticky and and sink down between your teeth allowing bacteria to grow.  This bacterium then utilizes the sugar in the stuck candy to produce acid.  It’s the acid that then dissolves the protective tooth enamel and causes a cavity.   Sour candies are also harmful.  Since these candies are already covered in acid (what gives them their mouth-puckering flavor), they speed up the process of tooth-harming decay making them the most dangerous of chewy candies.

Hard candy may seem like a less harmful way to satisfy your sweet tooth, but that isn’t necessarily the case.  Since hard candy is sucked on rather than chewed, it stays in your mouth for longer periods of time, giving it a chance to coat your teeth in sugar as it dissolves.  This gives bacteria a chance to grow and produce more acid since the candy is in your mouth longer.  Also, hard candies have lots of citric acid, so they’re primed to begin the erosion process.

Sources:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19083423

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Wellness/best-worst-foods-teeth/story?id=19085884#11

http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/ss/slideshow-teeth-wreckers

Winter Olympics Coloring Contest

In honor of the 2014 Winter Olympics, held in Sochi this year, the Kidds Place Dentistry is hosting a special coloring competition for all our wonderful patients! Download a copy of our coloring pages and have your child pick one of the three pictures to color.  On March 3rd we will select our favorite piece of art and that child will receive four movie passes to take them and their family to the movie of their choosing!

We have a skier, a snowboarder and a hockey player, ready to be colored in whatever colors your little one sees fit.  The Winter Olympics begin on February 7th, 2014.  Try to sit down and watch them as a family and have the kids color while they watch. If they need some inspiration, help point out some of the amazing athletes who will be skiing, snowboarding, and playing Hockey for the US team this year then have the kids color their pictures to look just like them.  Once they’re finished, have each child pick their favorite page, and then bring them down to the dentist office so we can display them on our wall! Watch our Facebook page and blog to see who wins best picture, and make sure to tune in and watch the 2014 Winter Olympics February 7th-23rd to cheer on Team USA!

Valentine’s Day Crafts for Kids

As February 14th gets nearer, it’s easy to resort to boxes of Sweet Hearts and chocolates to have your children give to their teachers and classmates as valentines.  Here are some cute (and clever) ideas that are fun, practical, and will keep your children from being overloaded with sugar!  Your fellow parents will thank you!

For Teachers and Classmates

Give something cute and practical to your child’s teachers and classmates this year. Check out these three classroom approved valentine ideas:

1. The “You Rule” Valentine

kidsvalentine1

For this scholastically themed gift, all you’ll need is some rulers, red craft paper, and a printer.  Check out this mom’s fun blog post to download a copy of this ruler template for easier assembly of the project (http://www.relocatedliving.com/diy-you-rule-valentine/).  Once you’ve printed out the template on red construction paper, cut slits on either side of the words, and slide the ruler through!  Add some stickers for extra sparkle if you can.

2. The Bookmark Valentine

kidsvalentine2

Go to your local hardware store, like Lowe’s or Home Depot, and snatch up some Valentine’s inspired paint swatches.  Get a fun heart-shaped hole punch, some pink ribbon, and make a night of putting together bookmarks with your little ones.  Have them give them to their English classmates, where they’re sure to get some good use!

3. The “Stuck on You” Valentine

kidsvalentine3Another cute but practical valentine is this glue stick inspired one.  All you need is some brightly colored glue sticks, some white card stock to print this template onto (http://www.relocatedliving.com/diy-stuck-on-you-class-valentine/), and some Valentines-inspired washi tape.  Just print, tape, and you’re done!  This would make the perfect gift for an art class.

 And for that Someone Special… 

Here are some adorable valentines ideas for those you love the most:

kidsvalentine4 1213 REAL SIMPLE WEDDING AND EASTER KRISSY TIGLIAS kidsvalentine6 1213 REAL SIMPLE WEDDING AND EASTER KRISSY TIGLIAS

Using odds and ends you have at the house, help the kids make some fun 3-dimensional valentines for special family members or best friends.  It’s sure to be a valentine they’ll remember and cherish!

Fun Valentine Crafts

            With Valentine’s Day falling on a Friday this year, take the opportunity to make the weekend fun and family-focused with these creative, colorful crafts:

1. Kool-Aid Playdough

kidsvalentine8

There’s nothing more fun than making hearts out of squishy playdough.  With this easy to follow recipe, you’ll be able to make homemade playdough that’s safe for even your youngest to play with since it’s edible and colored with unsweetened Kool-Aid!

All you’ll need is:

-1 cup flour

-1 Tbsp vegetable oil

-1 package unsweetened Kool-Aid (get various colors and make a few batches)

-¼ cup salt

-2 Tbsp cream of tartar

-1 cup water

Mix flour, salt, cream of tartar and Kool-Aid in a medium saucepan. Add water and oil. Stir over medium heat 3-5 minutes. When mixture forms a ball in pan remove. Knead until smooth. Put in plastic bag and refrigerate. (http://www.simpleasthatblog.com/2011/02/friday-craft-day-valentine-playdough.html)

Once the playdough has chilled, your children can use cookie cutters to make fun shapes or draw in a rolled-out piece of dough with a toothpick.  It will give hours of creative fun that can involve the whole family!

2.  Edible Finger-Painting

If your children are still little and playdough seems like too much, try this fun finger-painting project.  You’ll need a blank canvas (available at many dollar stores), food coloring, masking tape, and an old bed sheet or big piece of plastic you don’t mind getting messy.

Follow this easy finger paint recipe:

kidsvalentine9

Then tape up your canvas with a word or pattern:

kidsvalentine10

Let you’re little one have at it!  Make sure they cover the whole surface so that the word will show up well:kidsvalentine11

Once the paint is dry, remove the tape.  Now you have a fun piece of artwork to hang!  Be sure to date it

kidsvalentine12

(http://deborahgilbert42.wordpress.com/2012/02/14/capris-valentine-craft/)

Indoor Entertainment for the Winter Months

When the temperatures outside drop, it can become hard to find reasons to pull the kids away from the television and limit the amount of computer games that are played.  Here are a few ideas for keeping both you and your kids entertained and interacting with each other while being creative at the same time!  By the end of the day, the kids will be so distracted with all of the fun things they’ve accomplished that they’ll forget to complain about not being allowed to spend the day on the couch.

1. Build-a-Story Time

This is a great activity to enhance creativity.  Have all the kids sit in a circle on the floor.  Pull out your phone so you can record using either your video camera or voice memo app.  Recording the story you and your kids are about to create makes it more fun since you can all listen to it afterwards and laugh at all the silly things you came up with.  The goal is to have each person make up a sentence to the story, building on whatever the previous person said.  So if you start the story by saying,

“Once upon a time, Mr. Paul Porcupine was walking through the forest when he came on Mr. Clarence Crow wearing a kilt.”

Then the next child will continue like,

“’Why are you wearing a kilt, Mr. Crow?’ Mr. Porcupine asked.”

And so on.  The story can go on as long as you like.  Maybe decide in advance how many times you’d like to go around the circle to keep it from going too long.  When you’re finished, stop the recording and replay it for the kids.  It’s a great way to get them feeling creative and make a fun memory that you can relive again and again by playing the recording!  You can even share it with any family members who missed out that night over dinner to get a few more laughs.

2. Have a “Snowball” Fight

If the temperatures have been below freezing or you live somewhere where a white winter isn’t something you get in the early months of the year, then maybe this fun activity will help pacify your kids’ need for snow!  Assuming you feel up to the work of re-matching them all later, have the kids gather together all the socks they can find.  Then have them ball them all up and split them into even piles.  Once the kids have picked their teams, have them build up barricades using couch cushions or pillows and then have them go for it!  Make sure to remove any breakables from the war zone ahead of time to ensure the activity remains fun for everyone.  The first team to run out of snowballs has to clean them all up and redistribute them to the winning team before beginning round 2!

3.  Put on a Puppet Show

Pull out a few old white socks and have the kids make them into pieces of art with personality!  The longer the socks, the better puppets they’ll make.  Set the kids up at the kitchen table (or wherever is most convenient) and have them use markers, glitter glue, paint, old buttons, pipe cleaners or whatever else you have laying around to make some colorful puppets.  Assign each child a character like a princess, prince, knight, etc.  Or have them make animal puppets like a fox, a bear, or a bird.  Then find a big cardboard box (or a smaller table with a sheet draped over it) and send the kids to rehearse.  Have their puppet show be the after dinner entertainment that night!  It’s fun for everyone and makes for a break from movies and games.

4. Indoor Ice Skating

If your kids are still little enough that they take daily afternoon naps, then this activity will make for the perfect middle of the day entertainment to tire them out before they go down.  All you need it some wax paper, a few rubber bands, and a carpeted room with open space.

Cut off pieces of wax paper big enough to fit over your child’s feet and then wrap them up and rubber band them around the ankle so it looks like they have on little wax paper booties.  Then have the kids start sliding around on the carpet.  Make sure there aren’t any hard pieces of furniture too close by to ensure they can’t slip and hurt themselves.  It’s a great activity that gets them moving and tires them out even when they can’t be outside running around!

5. Build a Fort

One of the most fun things for a child is to have a space they can call their own.  What better way to do that than by having them build themselves their very own fort? First, decide what room in the house you don’t mind them invading.  A room with couches and chairs can be fun because it allows them to string blankets between the different pieces of furniture.  Or maybe nominate one of the kid’s bedrooms as the location for the structure.  Inform them at the beginning how long the fort can be up.  This will help make sure they cooperate when you say it’s time to clean it up and will help you keep your sanity so you’re not staring at a mound of pillows and blankets for a whole week.  Pull out blankets and sheets that are acceptable for them to use, set any ground rules you need to (perhaps you don’t want them stealing cushions from your snow white couch or have them using the crystal bowl from your great grandmother to hold blankets in place) and then have them begin!  This is a great activity for kids who are a little older.  It helps sharpen their reasoning skills since they have to figure out how to put all of the pillows, cushions, and blankets together in such a way that ensures their structure stays intact.

Once their fort is complete, make some popcorn and send a stack of fun books or coloring materials in with them.  Let them make the space whatever they want it to be and have them spend their afternoon and evening playing house.  And, if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, pull out the sleeping bags and let them sleep in there for the night.  What could be more fun than a cozy campout beneath blanket ceilings?

 

Make Brushing Teeth Fun

When children are old enough to understand its importance, getting your kids to brush their teeth ceases to be a struggle.  But when you’ve got toddlers on your hands that want everything to be fun, it can be difficult to come up with ways that keep you from feeling like you’re fighting with your child every night at bedtime.  If your toddler sees brushing their teeth like a chore, their willingness to do it is much less than if it seems like something enjoyable and game-like.  The following are some creative ideas to get your little one’s pearly whites shining with as few tears and meltdowns as possible!

1. Copy Cat

Bring your toddler into the bathroom with you and show them how you brush your teeth.  Show enthusiasm and excitement.  Explain how it’s fun and feels good to your teeth and gums and makes it so your teeth will stay strong and healthy.  Explain how food and sweets can get stuck in your teeth and how it’s your toothbrush’s job to get them out of there.  Make it fun!  Put your child up on the counter and have them try brushing your teeth.  This will help them see that it’s not scary at all and that it won’t hurt.  Then have them brush the teeth of their favorite doll or stuffed animal.  Finally, have them brush their own teeth and let you help with reaching the difficult spots.  This will help them see that brushing their teeth can be fun even though it’s necessary.

2. Give Them the Choice

Help your child feel that brushing their teeth is a big kid activity that they get to be a part of.  Make it an outing with them!  Take your child out to the store when you go to buy their toothbrush and make it a fun occasion.  Show them which toothbrushes will work for their mouth size and have them pick the one that they like best.  Then look at kids’ toothpastes together and have them pick out their favorite flavor like strawberry or bubblegum.  This helps them feel in control of what’s going on and excited about brushing their teeth!

3.  Make it a Musical Affair

What makes something feel more fun than with a song?  Making a tooth-brushing jingle or song can make the process feel like more of a game to your toddler.  Sing something like, “Brush, brush, brush your teeth…” to the tune of Row, Row, Row Your Boat or simply sing the theme song from your child’s favorite cartoon like Mickey Mouse Club House, Winnie the Pooh, or Sid the Science Kid.  Sing it while you brush their teeth and decide in advance how many times through the song makes for a thorough brushing.

4.  Create a Diversion

Having your child distracted while you brush their teeth may make the process a whole lot easier on you.  Maybe have them sit in your lap while they watch a few minutes of a show or just put them on the counter in such a way that they can watch themselves brushing in the mirror.  Sometimes just seeing their reflection can be enough to make it interesting for them and distract them from what they’re doing.

5.  Try a Fancy Toothbrush

With today’s plethora of teeth-brushing options at affordable prices, it may be worth it to invest those few extra dollars and get your child an electronic toothbrush.  They even make ones that have music built in so that your child knows how long to brush for. It’s easy to find one that will be right up your child’s alley and make brushing more pleasant for everyone!  Children’s Sonicare toothbrushes are available for purchase at The Kidd’s Place.

6. Change it Up

Here are some random tips and tricks that have worked well for some parents:

–          Try changing up your language.  Say something like, “I’m going to tickle your teeth!” rather than saying “brush”.  This makes it feel silly and fun for your toddler!

–          Try brushing while your little one is in the bath.  It might be easier to incorporate it right into their bath time routine rather than making it a separate event.  Brush rubber ducky’s teeth and Mr. Tugboat’s teeth and then make it your child’s turn.

–          Find a funny video of your child on your phone or maybe a special YouTube video they enjoy and make it the brushing video.  They can only watch it while getting their teeth brushed and they have to sit very still while watching.  This creates a distraction while making your child see it as something fun rather than a chore.

If songs aren’t working for you, try making it a tooth-brushing countdown.  Pick a number like 15 or 20 and start counting down to 1.  When you’ve done it once for the top and once for the bottom, you can be through!

7.  When All Else Fails…

Sometimes you can try every little gimmick and game and your child still won’t fall for it.  They’ll be too smart for their own good and know exactly what you’re trying to do no matter how well you disguise it.  When this happens, don’t despair!  Teeth brushing will still get done.  It just may not be as fun as you were hoping.  When this happens, resort to the basics:  hold your child in your lap with their neck resting on your non-dominant arm.  Then proceed to brush their little teeth until they sparkle!  If you have a particularly stubborn toddler, you may need to tag team them with your partner, having them hold the lower half of your child’s body while you have their head in your lap.  The more used to the process they get, the less they’ll squirm.  Make sure to keep it from being a scary thing though.  You don’t want them blurring the lines and developing a fear of everything that involves their teeth.  Keep it as light as possible and hopefully in time they’ll come to see it as an enjoyable practice!

Of course, with any of these methods, always make sure your toddler’s teeth are getting fully cleaned. Teach them how to move their brush and make sure they’re reaching far back enough in their mouths to get all of their little pearly whites.  Happy brushing!

The Importance of Sealants

There is a reason that in America today pediatric dentists perform more than twice as many sealants as general dentists and hygienists combined.  In order for sealants to have the optimum conditions and most potential for cavity-prevention, they should be applied as soon as a child’s adult teeth begin to come in (usually between the ages of 5 and 7).  While dental sealants are not a cure-all for the possibility of tooth decay, they can certainly help in preventing it.
 

What is a sealant?

A dental sealant is a plastic-like liquid that is applied to the biting surface of the tooth.  The goal of the sealant is that it covers all the pits and grooves and fissures that could potentially trap food and other bacteria within the tooth.  Unlike fillings, sealants are a painless procedure that is preformed to help reduce the likelihood of tooth decay.  The steps for applying a sealant to a tooth is relatively simple:

  1. First the teeth that are to be sealed are thoroughly cleaned.
  2. Each tooth is then dried, and cotton or another absorbent material is put around the tooth to keep it dry.
  3. An acid solution is put on the chewing surfaces of the teeth to roughen them up, which helps the sealant bond to the teeth.
  4. The teeth are then rinsed and dried.  Sealant is then painted onto the tooth enamel, where it bonds directly to the tooth and hardens. Sometimes a special curing light is used to help the sealant harden.

Do they have negative side effects?

There have been debates that the exposure to the bisphenol A and BPA found in sealants could be harmful to children.  However, the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services has done extensive studies concluding otherwise.  They have deemed these concerns unnecessary stating, “This exposure is considered an acute and infrequent event with little relevance to estimating general population exposures.”  In the case of sealants, the benefits nearly always outweigh the possibly negative side effects.
 

Why they’re almost always worth the investment…

In America today, it is safe to say that nutrition has become something that our society as a whole has little grasp of.  Foods and beverages are expected to be quick and convenient.  Getting the most for your money has become the general mindset in relation to how we feed ourselves.  As such, our children are being fed foods that, while they may be cost effective, are anything but nutritionally beneficial.  This has lead to diets of fast food and sugary drinks that are packed full of harmful, tooth-decaying preservatives.  As such, you can recognize the importance of finding ways to protect our children’s teeth as much as possible.  Dental sealants now may be a way of helping save your child from a mouthful of cavities later on (although a change in diet would certainly be a good thing to implement as well).

Over 90% of adult tooth decay is on the biting service of the back molars.  Every year, tooth decay can be blamed for problems with heart health, sinus related issues, headaches, and other general health concerns.  When you begin realizing the importance of your oral hygiene in relation to the rest of your body, the benefit of dental sealants at an early age becomes clearer.  Taking this preventative measure can save your child’s oral health from a world of hurt. Even if your child is in their early teens and has not yet had sealants, it may still be worth talking with your dentist about the possibilities of getting sealants for your child.  If your child has a healthy mouth, then getting sealants may still be a viable option, even if they’ve had their adult teeth for a few years.  Dental sealants do have the potential to last up to 10 years, but regular check-ups should be scheduled so that your dentist can keep an eye on them.  A good number of insurances cover the cost of sealants, so don’t be afraid to ask.  Investing in your child’s mouth now, may save you from unneeded grief years down the road (both physically and financially).  Just be sure to remember that even with sealants, regular brushing and flossing is imperative to ensuring your child’s mouth stays healthy!

Sources:

–          http://www.nbcnews.com/health/decay-dilemma-do-kids-need-dental-sealants-752956

–          http://www.ada.org/1766.aspx

–          http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/dental-sealants

–          http://www.deltadentalins.com/about/community/sealants.html

Why Eating Healthy is Best?
Why Eating Healthy is Best?

With so much continuous discussion about healthy eating, it can appear that there are many secrets and much mystery surrounding the acquisition of a healthy diet. Yet logically, eating healthy should simply be tied to increasing the quantity of fruits, vegetables, healthy grains, protein and healthy fats in the diet. Additionally, there should be a reduction of food items that contain excessive amounts of salt, sugar and unhealthy fats. Any discussion about eating health should also include an exploration of key elements − variety, balance and moderation. The results are evident that consuming healthier food options is critical for creating a healthy lifestyle overall.

healthy eating

A Balanced Diet:

It’s recommended that a healthy diet includes a balanced diet. This can mean many things for many people. Vegans for example eat only vegetables and dairy-free items that are found in nature; they do not consume anything that is an animal bi-product. A balanced diet would be consuming enough protein, roughage, fresh fruits and vegetables for a vegan. For people that have celiac disease or have an intolerance to gluten, a diet free of whole grain foods, but including fresh fruits and vegetables, protein foods and dairy products would be considered balanced. Healthy eating and eating a balanced diet are also tied to a need for moderation, suggesting that one must eat when hungry and stop when satisfied to keep healthy and fit.
 

Add variety to diet:

Eating healthy can be also be achieved by adding a variety of food items from different food groups. This can also make eating healthy an adventure − when one is willing to be creative and include a variety of items in a balanced diet. Variety can be integral in creating a balanced approach to food consumption. The benefits of ingesting a variety of healthy foods are that each food contains different essential nutrients. For examples, the beneficial nutrients contained in apples are different from those contained in bananas or pomegranates.

Moderate diet:

A healthy diet that includes all types of food items in a balanced way is still in need of moderation. While you may love carrots and they are natural and quite beneficial, you would not do your body justice to consistently eat an abundance of carrots. Any one item in excess can be counterproductive to the goal of improved health and overall wellbeing.

Top reasons for healthy eating

Increased energy, clarity, healthy complexion, strong immune system, weight control and longevity are among some of the reasons healthy eating is essential. By eating a natural and balanced diet, one ensures that their body receives plenty of the minerals, vitamins and other nutritional elements required to function at optimum potential. By maintaining a healthy diet, you become increasingly aware of the choices you make regarding what you consume. It’s likely that one becomes pickier and choosier − and this is a healthy habit. Those who eat healthy tend to be less stressed and they also handle stress better. This healthy lifestyle will decrease an individual’s chances of acquiring various diseases, including high blood pressure, diabetes and perhaps even avoiding several types of cancer. Disease and discomfort is greatly diminished by adopting healthy eating habits. 

apples_healthy

Difference between dieting and healthy eating

Some people misunderstand healthy eating as dieting, but there is no direct connection between the two concepts. Healthy eating allows people to get more enjoyment out of life. Eating healthy foods and maintaining a healthy lifestyle allows people to make wise choices and not select impulsive unhealthy options, such as certain fast foods. These eating habits can provide permanent positive changes in one’s life. Diets however, when employed strictly for reduction of body weight, provide a temporary effect. With such diets, individuals refrain from certain items in their diet, and for some this may be frustrating and hard to stick with in order to see the desired results. Healthy eating on the other hand can be satisfying, helping an individual to stay leaner and fitter in the long run, doing so in a healthy and conscious way.  

Making eating healthy a habit

As physics tells us, and we know to be true, what goes up must come down. This is true for healthy versus non-healthy food options. Some food that you might find in your local market can trigger inflammation, add too many calories or increase cholesterol because of unhealthy ingredients. On the other hand, there are companies that are just as concerned about your wellbeing as you are. Such companies create foods that are natural, satisfying and good for you. These are the products to seek in your local market, those from companies that take your health as seriously as you do. Where to start? Start by substituting the food you love with healthier options, healthier choices. If you love pizza − and it is part of a tradition to share a pie and relax with your family, there is no reason this should change. Simply make smarter choices and substitute less healthy pizza for one that is good for you instead. Some find it surprising to find that pizza is among the items that are relatively easy to find healthy substitutions in supermarkets nationwide.

Portrait of a pretty little girl biting an apple

Healthy eating options

When changing dietary patterns and gravitating toward healthier options, it’s sometimes best to adopt these changes gradually, as abrupt change in eating habits can cause a rebound effect, making the change temporary rather than long term. Adding fresh fruit and salad to a food consumption routine is a smart start toward a more healthful eating lifestyle. Some people opt for gluten free diets, dairy free options and preservative free options, to help structure positive changes in eating habits that can be maintained. For some people, vegetarian diets provide a healthy solution, focusing strongly on the benefits associated with consuming increased quantities of vegetables and fruit, combined with the benefits of eliminating the fat and cholesterol present in animal protein sources. Healthy eating is the best option for anyone seeking to improve overall health and lead a more productive and balanced lifestyle.
 

Food Preservatives & Why They Are Damaging to Your Family’s Health
Food Preservatives & Why They Are Damaging to Your Family’s Health

As parents, if we think that anything absent of a strange food coloring or not in a can is without preservatives or additives, then we are wrong. It’s important to know that there are a variety of preservatives and additives on the market, sometimes disguised as healthy options. Here are the most common types of additives:

  • Antioxidants
  • Sweeteners
  • Colors
  • Flavoring Agents
  • Acids
  • Gelling, thickening and stabilizing agents
  • Preservatives
  • Emulsifiers

These items can add additional flavors as well as preserving the shelf life. However, it should be understood that these food preservatives are not typically good for our health. More and more, healthy professionals are recommending that we consume preservative free foods that are increasingly available at the local market. In this article, we’ll explore the danger of food additives.

The real question is, “Are they safe?” The Government doesn’t seem to think so. The Agency that monitors this area of the government is known as FDA (U.S. Food & Drug Administration). This agency and assorted health professionals have concerns that some additives can cause behavioral changes in children and health issues.

These can cause temper tantrums and disruptive behavior in children, and links have been established between a child’s mood and their behavior as a result of ingesting such additives. Hyperactivity has also been attributed to various food colorings, artificial flavors and sweeteners.

esphoto_food_colors_coal_tar_dyesA variety of health and wellness professionals increasingly recommend that people stay clear of the following:

  • Artificial Colorings
  • Artificial Sweeteners
  • Flavor Enhancers
  • Preservatives

There are some negative side effects that may happen when we consume these food additives regularly. It should come as no surprise to that the more natural the food we consume, the better it is for our body and our overall health. We know that if people who are gluten intolerant for example, consume gluten, that their bodies react negatively. They become sluggish, bloated and in some cases may experience serious sickness. With gluten intolerance, the individual’s body does not digest these enzymes and proteins.

If gluten is natural and found in nature and has this type of effect on people with gluten intolerance, imagine the likely mechanisms of how a healthy body may react to additives and preservatives that do not naturally appear in foods.

Studies have been done that indicate some secondary effects of consuming additives over a lengthy period of time, with frequent ingestion. Here are examples of findings:

Hyperactivity in children and adults

Some food preservatives may cause increased hyperactive behavior. Therefore, it’s recommended to limit the consumption of food additives.

Digestive system disorders

Food preservatives can also cause some digestive system disorders. These symptoms can include bloatedness, bowl irritability and stomach aches.

Headache, nausea & possible nerve damage

Studies have shown that consuming certain additives over a long period of time have been known to show nerve damage and other serious health problems.

food preservative allergiesAllergic symptoms

There are some food additives that can cause allergic symptoms in people, similar to the allergic reaction one might get from gluten, for example.

Although studies continue to be conducted, and the studies are not 100% conclusive, we know that additives and preservatives should be avoided when we can help. Thanks to natural foods, it’s becoming easier to avoid these additives at the grocery store, when shopping for your family. It’s advised to purchase items that are created with consciousness; food that is made with natural ingredients, preservative and additive free.

There are many healthy foods that provide satisfying taste and quality, without the use of food additives in their preparation. By reducing the consumption of food additives, we can feel good about the foods that we consume and those that we provide for our family.

Creative Thanksgiving Fun for the Family
Creative Thanksgiving Fun for the Family

Whether you’re entertaining all the aunts and uncles and cousins from out of town or having a quiet day with your family this Thanksgiving, it’s always nice to have activities to keep the kids occupied (especially when the dropping temperatures make it harder to herd them outside). Here are some great ideas to get the family doing some fun crafts and participating in some thanks-inspiring activities!

Crafts Ideas

turkey_votiveIf you’re the type who plans ahead, and have kids who are old enough to handle a hot glue gun, have them make a few of these turkey candle votives:

Not only will having their little pieces of art as the centerpieces of the Thanksgiving table make them feel special, but they’ll give you small keepsakes to use for years to come. Make a quick trip to the dollarstore or your local craft store to grab what you’ll need. Click on the link to see step-by-step instructions from the creative minds at the spoonful.com blog (http://spoonful.com/crafts/glowbird).

turkey_craft_2Or, if you have little ones who are a bit younger, you can turn this fun turkey craft into an afternoon, outdoor excursion for Thanksgiving day. These adorable orange-pinecone-leaf turkeys are easy to make and use items that you probably already have in your kitchen and backyard.

Follow the step-by-step instructions on the website to help your little ones feel like they’re a part of the holiday preparations (http://www.parenting.com/article/gobble-gobble-turkey).

Decoration Ideas

placematIf you’re looking for thanks-inspiring details for your Thanksgiving table, try making these craft paper placemats. Have everyone share what he or she wrote with the rest of the table before you dig into the pumpkin pie! (http://theglitterguide.com/2013/11/18/diy-to-try-thanksgiving-entertaining/)

chain_craftOr you could begin a fun family tradition by starting a thanksgiving paper chain to hang above the table or along the wall.

Use these pretty calligraphy print-outs or create your own by cutting out strips of paper in your favorite fall shades (http://www.secondhandwithstyle.com/2010/11/diy-thanksgiving-round-up.html). Have each family member date their strip of paper and then write when they’re most thankful for before adding it to the chain. Over the years, you can pull out the previous year’s chain and reminisce over past and present blessings. Or make one big chain with all the years strung together!

Gift Ideas

candleIf you’re the one travelling to visit family this Thanksgiving and want to take more than your traditional contribution of green bean casserole and pecan pie, have the kids help you put together one of these fall themed gifts to say thank you to the hosting family members. Tie cinnamon sticks around a vanilla scented pillar candle for a delicious smelling gift. See on Pinterest

thanksgiving_potIf you have a green thumb in the family, buy some succulents like elephants ear or jade and have fun decorating the terra cotta planter with painted designs. Or, for a more personalized touch, have the kids write to the recipient things they love about them and are thankful for. They’re sure to keep the pot long after the plant has died. These are great thanksgiving craft ideas.

We hope these ideas help create some wonderful memories for you and your family this year. Happy Thanksgiving!