Category: The Kidds Place Dentistry for Children

Sugar and ADHD
Sugar and ADHD

Does your child have ADHD? Or does he or she have hyperactive tendencies when sugar is ingested?

We’ve all heard, “Kids going crazy after eating candy is a psychological reaction. There’s no proof it actually does anything.” But if you’re a parent and you’ve seen and dealt with enough sugar meltdowns, have no fear. There is actually an explanation.

The truth is, the above statement may have some truth – there is no clinical research that suggests that sugar intake is the direct result of ADHD (Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder) or that it increases the symptoms of learning disorders, such as ADD or ADHD in young children.

Yet despite the lack of medical evidence, there is an overwhelming amount of claims that parents with children of ADHD and even adults with the disorder notice a change in behavior when copious amounts of sugar and carbohydrates are ingested.

However, there is a direct link between children’s abilities to focus and their protein intake. Neurotransmitters in the brain are responsible for regulating alertness, as well as allowing your body to sleep.

Protein helps regulate these chemical messengers, whereas ingesting sugars and carbohydrates (which eventually break down into simple sugars) trigger drowsiness, slowing down the process of gaining control of focus. So while sugar doesn’t make kids “hyper”, it counteracts a competent attention span. 

Whether your child really does have Attention Deficit Hyperactive disorder, or they really just have a ton of energy and are prone to misbehave, is difficult to tell without being examined by a pediatrician. While medication may be necessary for extreme cases, try changing a child’s diet first. It may not be easy, but it will help them for the rest of their life, despite you, loved ones, and teachers wanting immediate results – a quick-fix is never a lasting solution.

While there’s nothing wrong with sugar in smaller doses, excess sugar can hinder the work of the neurotransmitters and can be combatted with a protein-rich breakfast and lunch. This means skipping out on sugary cereals, donuts, and chocolate milk and replacing them with eggs, meat, and whole grains. It doesn’t have to be a whole lot, either. Balanced and portioned breakfasts can kick-start the day off right, which is a nod to the common mantra “the most important meal of the day.”

These findings support the popular belief that people with ADHD do better on a protein-rich breakfast and lunch. Yet child psychologist Vincent J. Monastra, Ph.D., head of an ADHD clinic in Endicott, New York, says that, of the 500 children a year he evaluates for ADHD, less than 5 percent are eating the government-recommended amounts of protein at breakfast and lunch. In addition to boosting alertness, says Monastra, a protein-rich breakfast seems to reduce the likelihood that ADHD medication will cause irritability or restlessness. – Attitude Magazine


Don’t forget fruit! Fruit has natural sugars and vitamins that are equally as important to a balanced diet. But be aware, anything packaged or processed – canned fruit, juiKids learning how to cook in a cooking class.ces from concentrate, fruit snacks, popsicles, etc – most definitely have high-fructose corn syrup and other preservatives found in candy; making there to be very little difference between the two. When in doubt, stick to fresh, raw, and organic! 

The hardest part about helping kids eat right is if they are already accustomed to a sugary diet. Ask your pediatrician for help transitioning into healthier foods, especially if you believe it could help your child’s focus levels.

Easing a child into healthy eating may take some time, but experts recommend more children involvement in the kitchen. While this may seem counter-productive, you’re actually teaching them life skills and healthy choices that can last a lifetime.

 

Holiday Snacks for Healthy Smiles

Apple cobbler, pumpkin pie, fudge brownies – oh my!

‘Tis the season for incredible sweets and frosted delights. Statistically, the average person gains anywhere from 7-10 pounds between Thanksgiving and Christmas – and no wonder! Sugary treats are an integral part of holiday tradition, and not just in the United States either.

Sugar and even excess carbohydrates can cause harm to little teeth! Even if you do a good job of monitoring your child’s treat intake intake this time of year, there will be so many times exceptions are to be made. Family parties, cookie decorating with friends, and the constant aroma baked goods coming from the kitchen at grandma or auntie’s house. These various occasions take place virtually only once a year and with family members rarely visited.

Whatever the traditions in your home, and the homes of your loved ones, these are often recipes that have brought family together for generations.

Instead of bagging these traditions, you can always create new ones in the midst of them. Here are some amazing, healthy, and fun foods to make – that are no less Christmasy! These can be excellent alternatives when you are unhappy with your number on the scale or concerned about your children’s constant “sugar highs” that they can be more prone to this time of year.

(***Please note that not every option is 100% free of processed sugar. All recipes have been credited to their various authors.)Grinch-Party-1r

  1. Grinch Food Kabobs (via Clean and Scensible)

Tiny marshmallows, green grapes, thin banana slices, and strawberries, arranged on a toothpick. Be sure to cut off the top and bottom in the strawberry, and use the scraps for a fruit salad to avoid waste! Makes for a great afternoon snack, and easy to eat on the go. Can be refrigerated for later.

  1. Pita Tree Appetizers (via Betty Crocker)

Ingredients: 4 pita folds or pita bread roughly 6” across, pretzel sticks (halved), ½ cup of fat-free sour cream, ½ cup guacamole, 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley, ¼ teaspoon garlic-pepper blend, ¼ cup diced red bell pepper.

pita-trees
First, be sure to toast each piece of pita bread, and then slice it into eighths. Insert pretzel sticks halfway through the bottom of each pita triangle. Mix sour cream, guacamole, parsley, garlic-pepper blend, and spread onto squares. Sprinkle the diced red peppers on top and refrigerate to store.  Pita Tree Appetizers – perfect for any Christmas party!

3. Fruit Candy Canes
 (via Nourishing Minimalism)

Very simple, with so many variations! For a traditional looking candy cane, thinly slice strawberries and bananas at a slight angle. Keep rounded ends of each fruit and put them off to the side. Create a curved cane by alternating fruit and top each end off. Serve on a plate and enjoy!

fruit candy cane 1

4. Rudolph Pancakes (via Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons)

Totally straightforward! You will need pancake mix (whichever recipe you prefer), creamed whip in a can, strawberries, preferred bacon, and chocolate chips. Maple syrup optional. Create two round pancakes of different sizes and stack them as pictured. Then pour 2 ear-shaped tiny pancakes and set them to the sides of the bigger pancake. Take two full strips of bacon for the antlers, then cut a third bacon strip in half to “branch” off of the original antler. Add more if desired.  For the face, spray 2 dollops of whipped cream and top it off with 2 chocolate chips to create the eyes. For the red nose, add a strawberry or raspberry at the center of the smaller pancake. Perfect for a Christmas breakfast!

Rudolph-Pancakes-Breakfast_PM

5. Dipped Apple Slices (via PartyCity)

Cut green and red apples into thin slices. To prevent slices from browning, first add lemon juice. Take melted chocolate (or white chocolate) and dip each slice halfway, then set it on wax paper to cool. While chocolate is still liquid, add festive sprinkles to stick and harden. Arrange in a row or in a circle and serve!

PI002231

For more ideas, visit Pinterest and be sure to swap recipes with other moms! They will definitely appreciate the ideas to go easier on the sugar this year!

Things You Didn’t Know Were Harming Your Teeth

It is not every time that we use our mouth for something that we ask, “is this actually okay for my teeth?” Whether it be eating, speaking, gum chewing, or holding something in our mouth while our hands are full, what can we absolutely afford NOT to do?

Our most prominent orifice, the mouth is not only one of our primary forms of expression (speaking), but how we receive over 90% of our nutrients (from food). If you are going to take extra care of one area of your body, make it your chomper! Did you know that almost every fatal disease has an oral symptom? Both the mucous lining and saliva glands work together to keep the mouth lubricated and the absorbing qualities of the mouth tissue alive. What is then gleaned from lamina propria (the connective tissue) is absorbed through what is called the facial vein. This means that whatever properties go into your mouth can enter into your bloodstream without even having to be swallowed.

Here are some simple things you can avoid doing to protect your pearly whites. Encouraging your children to do the same and stopping bad habits now (especially nail-biting) may save a lot of grief down the road. Although most of these do not cause immediate harm, many can affect your smile over time. We have already talked about a lot of these habits in previous articles, so feel free to click on them for further reading.

1. Bruxism

Bruxism is just the scientific word for teeth-grinding. Despite the fact that tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the body, it can obviously still wear out. This can be attributed to the fact that the human jaw is incredibly strong – up to 150 lbs of power! If you are in the habit of grinding your teeth every night, this can eventually take its toll. Those who are diagnosed do not know they even had the condition until a parent or spouse tell them. Talk to your doctor about a mouth guard that repositions the jaw so that air is still passing through. Often bruxism is caused by not being able to breath properly during sleep. The most common symptoms are molars that appear to be worn down, as well as jaw and tooth pain. If the problem persists, talk to your doctor or dentist and they will have a preferred solution that they would recommend.

2. Acidity

This could mean acid contact firsthand; found in consumables like soda pop, citrus fruit, coffee, or even stomach acid if you suffer from heartburn or are prone to vomiting. Acid wears down the enamel, the outer protection of the teeth, which can cause cavities and decay. However, eating sugar and carbs excessively and neglect can do this as well. Why? Because when these particles come into contact with saliva they break down into glucose and fructose. This gradually turns to plaque if it is not brushed away, which can also cause decay.

3. Thumb-sucking

Very common in infants, prolonged thumb-sucking as well as extended use of a pacifier can cause teeth to grow in crooked. Although doctors and child care professionals disagree on the best time to wean these habits, it all comes down to whether or not it is negatively affecting baby teeth in their growth. Baby teeth create a “path” for adult teeth to grow in. If they are misaligned, so the adult teeth can be.


4. Chewing on ice

It may seem harmless, right? Regardless of the fact that it is sugar and carb free, ice is still an incredibly hard substance which, when chewed can cause chipping or damage to existing dental work. Doctor Richard Price of the American Dental Association on the matter of chewing ice reminds us that “even your blender needs special blades to crush ice.

webmd_rf_photo_of_woman_biting_medicine_pack (1)

PC: WebMD

5. Picking

Do not pick at your teeth with any sharp, metal or otherwise hard object (toothpicks and things of that nature are fine, as long as they do not hurt your gums). It may seem like a no-brainer but only the dentist should be poking around with a periodontal probe or dental hook. These are stainless steel and can cause serious harm. Dentists have special training in this, so don’t try this at home!

6. Using them as a tool

Doctor Price also says, “Teeth are not pliers, teeth are not hooks.” Out of sheer laziness we commonly rely on our mouths to do a job that would require reaching for the scissors or into the toolbox to do. This cannot only cause chipping, but cracking as well which can be very painful. Our teeth are not designed to bit and clench down on hard plastic or metal. This also goes for nail-biting as well!

7. Brushing too hard

If you tend to go a little heavy-handed on the brushing, you may need to invest in a toothbrush with softer bristles. These usually cost the same as a regular toothbrush. Brushing too hard can irritate the gums and even wear down enamel, leading to more issues down the road. The bristles dragging across the gums repeatedly can cause small abrasions on the gums which can also get infected and cause sores.

While these seven appear to not be of any issue at first glance, they can definitely cause problems if made a regular occurence. Be aware of these and be on the lookout for your children potentially developing these habits. It is all to maintain a lifelong, healthy smile!

Wisdom for Wisdom Teeth
Wisdom for Wisdom Teeth

So named due to the time known for starting to gain “wisdom” (late teens, early 20s), wisdom teeth are a third set of usually 4 molars that appear behind the six and twelve-year old molars. Many children begin experiencing the signs of early wisdom teeth forming, which is why at times this can be a topic of discussion and concern even at a pediatric dentist level. Thirty percent of people are born without them, and not everybody has exactly four –  in rare cases, some only receive two, or three, and some even get five or six.

Most children do not have to be bothered with wisdom teeth until adulthood, but those who are ahead of the “growth curve”, (perhaps lost most of their baby teeth very early) have been known see signs of complete development as young as 14. Wisdom teeth extraction is usually performed when there is impaction, or the x-rays show the teeth coming in will be problematic.  Usually the x-rays from your routine dental exam act as a good indicator of if and when an oral surgeon should be seen.

Symptoms may include but are not limited to: tightness of teeth, gum tenderness behind molars, slight jaw pain or pressure in other teeth, and of course, teeth breaking through the surface. Partial eruption is when the wisdom tooth begins to break through the gums. Thankfully, if the teeth appear to be growing in straight, then they can be extracted the same way a normal tooth would be. However if they are impacted (growing in crooked), they will begin to affect their surrounding teeth. If this remains untreated for an extended period of time it can lead to sores, then infection, and sometimes decay. That is why early wisdom teeth extraction often for preventative reasons.

Ask your child’s dentist if there is an oral surgeon he or she would recommend. They can vary in uniqueness and different methodologies. Most patients require nitrous oxide (laughing gas) and local anesthesia, but some surgeons have the qualifications and authorization to sedate patients if the procedure is deemed more severe. For those with already intense anxiety at the dentist, an oral sedative (usually Valium) may be prescribed to the patient for added comfort.
Cheerful dentist is standing and looking at the camera with joy. He is wearing medical eyewear and a mask. Copy space in left side
Every mouth is different and will entail maneuverings specific to the situation. The surgeon will typically meet with the patient (and in the case of a minor, their parents as well) prior to the operation to go over exactly what the plan of action is, using x-rays as a form of reference if necessary. This will allow the patient to be well-informed about pre-extraction protocol, and will also give the surgeon the benefit to know about any accommodations that they might need. Oftentimes the doctor will require a parent, loved one, or good friend to be present at the appointment to understand the methods which to look after the patient post-extraction.  

After the wisdom teeth have been removed, there are certain things to expect the 24 hours following. Replace moist, clean gauze every 45 minutes over the empty tooth sockets until bleeding stops. Moist tea bags may also be effective as the natural tannic acids in tea can help the blood clot. If necessary, alternate ice packs on either side of the face in 10 minute increments to reduce swelling.

For pain, it is recommended to use Tylenol, or Ibuprofen (which is also an anti-inflammatory). It is not uncommon that heavier pain killers are prescribed by the surgeon in advance. Oftentimes antibiotics are also given to the patient if there is any pre-existing infection in the gums. Make sure solid food is not consumed the first few days. As for teeth brushing, avoid the teeth around the sutures for 24 hours and then resume brushing, but very gently.

Ask anyone who has had it, dry socket is the worst. This occurs when the scab formed over the extraction becomes dislodged; exposing the jaw and sensitive nerves. This can cause intense pain for 5 to 6 days. It can be prevented by not drinking through a straw and not swishing liquid around in the mouth. If this occurs, contact your oral health care provider.

Most individuals in their life will have to deal with their wisdom teeth at some point. With any luck, these extra molars will grow in straight and not require extraction. Some oral healthcare professionals believe in acting sooner rather than later if the need arises. The x-rays taken at your child’s regular oral check-ups will be a good indication to your dentist as to when would be a good time to see an oral surgeon – even if your child is only in their teens! Keep an eye out for those emerging little friends… and in the meantime, do not forget to floss between your back molars!

PC: Coronation Dental Specialty Group

 

 

Christmas Shop Smarter, Not Harder
Christmas Shop Smarter, Not Harder

It’s getting to be that season again!

Forget any other time of year; it is safe to say that society can be the least frugal during the holidays. Yet no matter how much love you have towards your family, nobody wants to be in over their eyeballs in credit card debt come the New Year, and yet that’s the place many Americans find themselves in long after St. Nick comes to call. A recent statistic shows that the average citizen spends an upwards of $800 on Christmas presents, and this number only continues to grow from year to year.

Whether you have 1 child or 5, and whether your income is substantial or lacking, everybody likes to save money.

But where do we draw the line? Ever tried doing a total DIY Christmas? Sure, you may save some money, but after the initial cost of supplies and the intense amount of time it takes, one can begin to question if it is even worth it or not.

Let’s talk about re-gifting. This might be okay every once and awhile (mainly if the gift in question was never used) but too much re-gifting is downright tacky – especially when this tactic stoops to levels of taking objects from the basement and trying to pass them off as presents.  Let’s face it, we all know someone who does this (or, alright, maybe you’ve done it too!)

Here are some of the most frequently suggested tips from experts on how to shop this holiday season.

#1: Set a budget. It may sound like an obvious statement, but keep reading. The most important thing about setting a budget is sticking to it! First, decide on a number you are comfortable spending. Always try to set it a little higher than you normally would – you may not want to, until the moment comes when you’re inches from a display window and regretting the original number set. Setting an unrealistically low number can cause a splurge later.

One way to deter from overspending is by taking out your entire budget in cash. Cash is tangible, visible. If you plan to primarily shop online (see #2), cash can still be counted. The solution is to record the exact amount of money that was charged (luckily most online shopping sites have a transaction history feature in case you lose track). From there, subtract the amount spent online from the cash.

#2: Shop online when you can. Unfortunately, there are just some things you can’t always find online. What is more, items like clothes are very difficult to distinguish online in terms of determining their true size. More often than not, online shopping is cheaper, however. According to consumer-retail experts, there are certain days of this season that can prove cheaper than others. You can find a lot of kids toys on Amazon for significantly less than the big-names.Holiday shopping using laptop computer, photographed against christmas tree lights

November 1st-11th oftentimes holds sales for what is called Early Black Friday. Items are known to be marked down 20%-30%. Check big-name retail store websites over the weekend, BUT wait until Monday to buy – by then, they will have matched their competitors.

December 1st is cyber Monday. This is the day you are more likely to find deals 30%-40% off, especially on specific websites like DealNews.com, UrbanOutfitters.com, OldNavy.Gap.com, and Shop.Nordstrom.com.

#3. Make a list. And check it twice! And prioritize. Sometimes the people closest to us can be tricky to shop for. If you go into a store with the mentality of “I’m only going to spend $30 on this person”, but you have no concept of what to get them, then you aren’t going to spend what you set out to.

If the saying is true, that it is “the thought that counts” – be thoughtful! Pay attention. Try to find something they might need, or lack, even if it is not something you yourself would consider a gift. Oftentimes making a list prior to setting a budget works for some individuals. It provides a much better understanding of what needs to be spent if you are to follow through. If it seems like it will be too much, try to shorten the list or get a less extravagant gift for an extended family member you normally wouldn’t spend that much money on.

This will also help in getting the best possible deal. For example, if you have decided, resolutely, that you are getting your daughter-in-law a Crockpot, then by golly, you are going to find the very best deal on a Crockpot humanly possible.

All in all, we know that Christmas isn’t all about the gifts, but about family. Remember the reason you celebrate and the reason the season is in place. Do not let pressure to get the right gifts overwhelm you. Spending every weekend during the holidays at the mall is no fun. This will set a good example to your children as well – instilling the value of traditions during this season can contribute to some of their fondest, warmest Christmas memories. 

Canker Sores: Causes & Treatment

Have you ever had a canker sore? They are not fun, and can appear at the most random and inconvenient times! What is more, it can make simple tasks like eating and brushing pretty painful. Nearly everyone has experienced at least one canker sore in their lifetime, and they are definitely a pain in the mouth! Usually identified by a small, round white bump with redness and tenderness surrounding it, they are classified as small, shallow ulcers. These sores are much different than cold sores and can last up to a week.

What Causes Them?

Cry girl with sore mouth over whiteCanker sores are not caused by any one thing, nor do they target any specific gender or age group (although they do seem to affect those between the ages of 10-20 more). Statistics say that 20% of people report having one at least once a year. So while they do not appear to be a constant occurrence, what does cause them?

Random sores appearing can usually be traced back to a small abrasion in the gums or the mouth. This can be caused by a dental instrument, accidentally biting your tongue or cheek, or brushing too hard. Sometimes these wounds are so minuscule they go unnoticed. From there the minor cut or scrape can become infected with oral bacteria which forms a sore.
Canker sores can also appear in times of emotional stress, certain hormonal changes, and even sensitivity to foods containing acid and citric acid like oranges, lemons, tomatoes, strawberries, coffee, etc, which can erode the inside of the mouth. It can also come from vitamin deficiencies in your diet, such as vitamin B, zinc, and iron.

Wait, Aren’t Cold Sores the Same Thing?

Nope! Cold sores are caused by the herpes virus and are incredibly contagious (luckily, canker sores are not). They also occur on the outside of the mouth, whereas canker sores only appear on the inside. Cold sores are commonly referred to as “fever blisters” since they usually are accompanied by illness. Prior to the cold sore developing there is usually some redness and tenderness where the outbreak will be. Children with cold sores typically experience more severe sickness than adults. They are so named “blisters” because the cluster of painful bumps that form burst after a couple of days. They can last significantly longer than a canker sore and be of course more noticeable than one too.

Treatment

Natural home remedies can include swishing with mouthwash or saltwater. Both will help to disinfect and dry up the sore, speeding up the healing process. Natural aloe vera and black tea bags can both cure canker sores when applied directly.

Despite the fact that canker sores tend to almost resemble pimples, they should not be popped or poked with a needle. This can cause them to worsen or spread. If you have an outbreak of two or more canker sores at a time and they do not go away on their own and persist after a few weeks, be sure to see a doctor for a specific remedy or even prescribed medication. If continual canker sores persist, try switching to a softer bristled brush to reduce abrasions in the mouth. If you suspect the sores could be diet related, reduce the amount of acids and citric acids you consume.

Fun & Creative DIY Halloween Costumes for Kids

* Please note all costumes are from different sources and ideas and their authors were compiled using Pinterest.

Let’s be honest, Halloween costumes can be pricey considering what you get. They are usually made with cheap fabric, purchased in a plastic bag, and never guaranteed to fit perfectly. If you are after something unique and custom, that can get even more expensive! It seems like a lot of trouble to go to for just one day. These costumes are a great way for you and your children to craft together; to create a costume designed to suit them and go easy on your wallet!


Gumball Baby

(via Costume Works)baby_gumball_machine

Purchase a soft cotton knit infant cap (found at a second hand store or online) and use a glue-gun to glue brightly colored pom-poms onto it. Try to find a red one-sy that has a turtleneck, so it gives the illusion of connecting the candy to the dispenser. Then, cutting felt into a square and a sharpie, create a $0.25 sign on the shirt and top off with black pants. There are some variations, like perhaps using a blue turtleneck instead of red or cutting out a felt $0.25 instead of drawing it on. It’s so adorable and can be used for infants and toddlers alike.

 

Cool Robot
(via Paging Fun Mums)

You will need:

a large cardboard box for the body, and a smaller one for the head (a standard shoebox would probably be the ideal size)
flexible ducts for the arms and legs (found at any hardware store)
tin foil
a box cutter
a glue gun
silver spray paint
silver face paint
2 empty 2 liter bottles

robotOptional items:
used computer parts (you can find these at a local recycling center)
printed off pictures of fuel gages
Coat buttons
any other miscellaneous objects that you would like to spray paint silver and stick to the body or helmet of the robot.

Have fun with this! Cut out a large hole at the top of the main cardboard box for the head, two smaller on each side for arms, and the bottom side completely off – this hole will be used to get the child in and out of the costume easily. Spray paint the box silver, assemble it with various buttons – customize it however you like! Then add computer parts, a fuel gage, or buttons. You can also spray paint two (2) liter soda bottles and glue them upside-down to the back to create a jet pack! Measuring your child’s arms, glue-gun two flexible ducts to the arm-holes and adjust them accordingly.

For the helmet, a similar concept applies. Make sure the lid is secured to the shoebox and then cut a hole at the bottom wide enough for it to rest on the top of your child’s head. Add buttons and paint lids to the sides with a glue gun, and then spray paint the whole thing once the glue is dry. For the legs, cut two more flexible ducts according to your child’s leg length and slip them over their pants, which looks best if the pants are black. Cover their feet in tin foil, and viola!

Unicorn
(via Craftaholics Anonymous)

kids-unicorn-costumeDoes your little one love unicorns? This one is fairly simple and yet so cute!

You will need:
A white hoodie (a pullover; no zipper)
White leggings
Glue gun
Purple, light pink, and hot pink yarn
Purple, light pink, white, and hot pink felt
Packing or construction paper
Gold ribbon (optional)

Headpiece:

unicorn horn

“For the ears, cut two ovals with two pointed edges, using white felt to the desired ear size. Do the same with the light pink felt only a half-inch smaller. Glue the pink felt on top of the white felt and then pinch one side and glue them so that the pinched end can be inserted into the head piece.”

As you can see, the ears, mane, and horn are on top of the hood. To make the horn, roll a few pieces of construction paper into a horn shape (however long or wide you would like). From there, wrap a piece of white felt around it and secure it with a glue gun. Cut the bottom off so it is flat and can sit neatly on the head. For an added flair, wrap a gold ribbon around the horn and secure it as well. For the ears, cut two ovals with two pointed edges, using white felt to the desired ear size. Do the same with the light pink felt only a half-inch smaller. Glue the pink felt on top of the white felt and then pinch one side and glue them so that the pinched end can be inserted into the head piece (see image). For the felt flowers pictured, look up felt flowers on Pinterest as there are many different tutorials to choose from.  Glue the ears on each side underneath the horn. Then along with the mane (described below) secure them to the front edge of the hood. Add the felt flowers as desired after this process.

Mane & Tail:

For the mane, take all three skeins of yarn and wrap them around the palm of your hand about 10 times. Then tie a single string around the middle to secure it tightly, and cut both ends – similar to how a yarn pom-pom is made. Continue making these over and over and tie them together until you reach desired mane length. The tail is made similarly, except the strands are much longer. Wrap these from the inside of your thumb to your elbow several times; however thick you want it to be. Then, similarly to the mane, take a single strand of yarn and tie it around the continuous loop, and then cut the opposite end of the loop so the strands dangle like a horse’s tail.

Torso:

Lastly,  cut a large oval in the light pink felt to cover the torso on the front of the sweatshirt. Glue gun it to the front, but try not to cover the openings of either sides of the front pocket.


Scarecrow
(via Costume Works)scarecrow31

This one is a great gender-neutral option for a costume and one that also does not take a copious amount of time. You will need:

Brown shoes
A plaid shirt
Overalls
Raffia
Burlap
Patches to sew on if desired

Most of these items, if not all, can be located at a Goodwill or thrift store near you.
The hat may be the trickiest part; and because it is more complex and step-by-step, we have linked a separate tutorial here. Patches can be cut into squares from scraps, or unwanted plaid shirts and sewed on as desired. The raffia should be coming out of the pant legs and the tops of the overalls to give the illusion of the scarecrow being stuffed with hay. This can be created by simply cutting the raffia into 6-inch strips and sewing them to the inside hem of the pockets and pant legs of the overalls. Once your overalls are decorated as desired, take some brown lipstick, lip-liner or eyebrow pencil and draw in a cute little nose!

 

Peacock
(via Andrea’s Notebook)

Royal Blue Tulle Spool
Teal Tulle Spool
Lime Green Tulle Spool
Brown Tulle Spool
Brown, green, blue and navy felt. Or buy an assorted pack of felt.
3/4″ non-roll elastic for the waistband
Ribbon of any color coordinating with tutu. 1/2″ is best.

The eyes of the peacock feathers are probably the most complex part of this costume, but after this it is fairly simple. First use the felt you have in various colors and cut them to match this idea: One large brown oval, one lime green and teal chestnut-shaped piece (one being slightly smaller than the other), and a Pac-Man shaped navy piece.



Using light brown thread, sew lines protruding outward from the center. Sew only the green piece to the brown piece to do this. Then proceed to stack the others from biggest to smallest on top of each other with fabric glue. Create 4-6 more or as many as desired. Attach each peacock “eye” to the ribbons cut to different lengths. (This will provide variety and depth to the tutu.)
peacock123
Before you attach them to the elastic, create the tutu next. Take your colorful strips of tulle and cut them into thick, long strips. Fold in half, and loop them around one side of the elastic (to go around the waist) and pull through – similar to a reef knot. You may do this, all around the elastic, or you may seclude it to the back to give that added peacock flared-out look. Andrea’s notebook used her darker tulle (the browns and dark blues and greens) on the outside edge of each side of the tutu, and reserved the brighter colors for the middle – probably to emphasize the feathers. When all the desired tulle has been attached to the elastic, then attach the felt peacock feathers by simply tying the ends of the ribbons to the elastic.

The tutu looks best with a royal blue shirt and black leggings. It’s so darling!peacock

What IS Gingivitis?

Did you know that every 3 out of 4 Americans experience a form of gum disease in their lifetime? Gingivitis, the most common, is a condition that encompasses the very early stages of a more severe gum disease or periodontitis. It is most quickly recognized by bleeding when flossing or brushing. Gingivitis is the number one cause of bloody gums, and should not be ignored as it is not a “normal” thing. Perfectly treatable early on, it can lead to a more serious condition (periodontitis) if neglected.

What Causes It?

Plaque is essentially a hardened film that develops on teeth, formed by bacteria. Plaque grows wherever bacteria is not being removed; which means if you do not floss, you are not getting rid of the bacteria in between your teeth!

Did you know that a toothbrush only reaches 2/3 of our mouths? That means, if a person never flosses, one third of their mouth never gets clean! Gross!

The plaque that grows between teeth release toxins into the gums which can cause an infection to develop. The infection spreads into the gums, making them red and tender. This means if you brush a little too hard one day, or floss for the first time in awhile, it can cause an instant abrasion in the gums, causing them to bleed.

Gingivitis is very prominent in children as they are still developing healthy oral hygiene habits. They are notorious for cutting corners in their daily brushing regimen. Typically children also have more of a taste for sweets. Sugar turns to acid, acid turns to plaque, and plaque seeps into the gums, causing the infection. Children and young teens are also at risk because rapid hormone changes are known to be linked to gum disease. Bruxism, or teeth grinding, is also more common with little ones, which can worsen gingivitis and is hard on the enamel and overall teeth in general. All things to be considered; that children are constantly growing and developing and that taking care of their teeth at a young age will do them favors and save them a lot of trouble later in life.

Preventionmother and daughter brush my teeth

If your kids start to see that “pink in the sink”, definitely help them out! There is a statement among experts that say children do not have the proper dexterity in their hands to brush their teeth until they can tie their shoes all by themselves. Therefore it is recommended you brush your child’s teeth for them up until the hand strength and precision is developed. Small flossers are also useful to assist you with flossing and it will also teach them to do it on their own. Flossing is probably the number one thing you can do to prevent gingivitis from happening in between the gums. Be a good role model and take care of your own mouth too. This means brushing twice daily for at least two minutes, and flossing and rinsing once daily.

 

If your child’s gingivitis condition is more severe, it may be a good idea to arrange for them to start going to a pediatric dentist, as they have more experience with little mouths and have 2-3 years more schooling than regular dentists. Teach them young, and take care of their teeth now so they do not have problems with their adult teeth later! 

Why We Grind Our Teeth: A Lifesaving Mechanism?

Bruxism

Mouth grinding is a habit that occurs during deep sleep, meaning many may be unaware that they even do it. Usually it takes a spouse or a loved one of someone that grinds their teeth to be able to notice it in the night. Also known as bruxism, this is a condition that can go unnoticed for long periods of time and is more common in children than adults.

Symptoms may include but are not limited to: tooth pain, jaw soreness or clicking, molars appearing to be worn flat, enamel wear, and headaches.

Chances are a dentist will be able to perform an examination to tell whether grinding is occurring. It is reported that over 10% of adults and 15% of children grind their teeth; yet it was not until recent years that doctors have actually discovered why.

It used to be a common misconception to link bruxism to stress or anger in the same context as we feel it during the day. Naturally, it can be a natural human response to consciously clench our teeth when we are mad or feeling intensely about something; and while this can happen while we sleep, it is found to actually be more than likely linked to what is called “obstructive sleep apnea”: a disorder that cuts off breathing for anywhere from 10-30 seconds during sleep.

How it Happens

While we sleep, we drift in and out of REM and NREM cycles. These stand for “Rapid Eye Movement” and “Non Rapid Eye Movement” which represent the depth of the levels of which the mind and body rest. As our sleep and rest deepens, all of our muscles relax completely. This includes the neck, jaw, mouth, and tongue. Now, when all of these muscles are completely slack it can actually block the opening of the trachea, closing off our airways!

To counteract this, the body is brilliantly designed to begin grinding. Why? Clenching the jaw is our body’s natural response because it tenses up muscles just enough to clear whatever is preventing air from freely passing through. When the muscles tighten, it reopens the airway!

The sudden obstruction, grinding, and then release unfortunately pulls us out of that deep sleep cycle and into the first stage of NREM (the lightest sleep), disrupting the cycle without the person perhaps even realizing it.

Despite the negativity surrounding bruxism, it is true that is could very well be preventing this form of sleep apnea and allowing air to pass through to the lungs even in the deepest sleep.

Mouth guards might seem like the best solution but in truth can actually make breathing more difficult. It would treat the symptom (teeth grinding) but it would not solve the initial problem.

Sleep apnea is often found to be more prominent in:

  • People with anxiety and depression
  • Children with ADHD and other learning disabilities
  • Children and adults who did not breastfeed as infants for very long or at all
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PC: Randen Pederson

Solutions

If your teeth grinding is becoming more of an issue, talk to your doctor about sleep apnea. When REM occurs, it is in the stages of the night where our skin and brain cells are replenished, our HGH (human growth hormone) is released, it boosts memory, and helps us burn fat. Sleep apnea disrupts this cycle which can lead to weight gain, heart disease and stroke. Children with sleep apnea were reported to struggle with hyperactivity, lack of focus, issues communicating, trouble adjusting to new environments, and in general received lower grades. Remember, just because you are getting an 8-10 hour rest does not always mean that this it is a wholesome, uninterrupted sleep. The good news is that most children outgrow their sleep apnea as well as their grinding, leaving little to no lasting damage on their teeth.

In a recent study, patients were given a CPAP machine (a treatment often used in severe cases of sleep apnea) or an oral device used to adjust placement in the mouth to make breathing easier. Not only did their sleep apnea stop, but so did the bruxism. Check for signs of your children grinding their teeth – chances are if it is a regular occurrence, they are not getting the sleep they need.

While grinding our teeth could be saving your life every night, it can have a long-term effect on one’s overall health. If you are concerned your child may have obstructive sleep apnea, or you yourself have it and you are concerned about your long-term health, talk to your doctor or pediatrician about steps you can take towards treatment.  If the grinding persists and there is a legitimate concern about worn-down enamel, talk to your dentist about a safe mouth guard he or she would recommend.

Helping Kids Deal with Bullies

Now that the school year has officially begun, some children may have a hard time adjusting to old social constructs after three long months of little to no interaction with so many peers on a regular basis. Being pushed around or teased by an older sibling is a completely different story than another student on the playground doing it. It can make the child feel threatened, unsafe, angry, and cause anxiety at the prospect of even going to school.

25% of public schools in the U.S. report that bullying happens on a daily if not weekly basis. Many children can be scared to admit when they are being bullied. This can be due to embarrassment, fear parents or teachers will not believe them, or that the bullying will get worse if the bully is provoked by getting punished for his actions.

How to Recognize the Signs

If your child is not telling you outright that he or she is being bullied, here are ways to identify it if you suspect it may be happening. Every situation is different, but a victim of bullying can be spotted if you know what to look for.

Not Eating

Anxiety can often cause loss of appetite, which can in turn lead to moodiness and fatigue. If your child is wanting to eat less or even skip meals altogether, they could be very anxious.

Evasiveness

Very few kids are truly bouncing off the walls to go to school every day. If you notice that your child is dragging their feet more than usual, or even trying to make excuses to get out of going to school (feigning sickness, intentionally missing the bus, etc), there could be something deeper than just simply not wanting to go.

Acting Out

If you find your child is being unusually harsh towards you or their siblings, and perhaps exhibiting out-of-character behavior, there is a chance they are reacting from being hurt – either physically, emotionally, or mentally, by someone they must face each day. Going to school five days a week can feel like a full-blown battle for them if this is occurring. This can force the need for them to put up a proverbial wall to guard themselves as a defense mechanism.

Remember that unprovoked cruelty, violence, foul language, name-calling, and extreme rudeness are often learned behaviors. If you aren’t teaching your kids this, they could be learning from somewhere else – i.e., from the bully or bullies that are mistreating them. Children who stand out as disobedient and disruptive are usually those that are not receiving the attention that they need.Two young girls bullying other young girl outdoors

How to Respond

If you are noticing any or all of these behaviors, approach your child in a gentle and casual manner. Sometimes asking a blatant question is not enough. A way to do this would be to perhaps tell a story of how you or a family member was bullied as a kid. This makes it feel like a conversation rather than an interrogation and may help you get to the bottom of what is happening.

If and when your child has expressed to you any of their struggles, first thank them for telling you and praise them for having the courage to say something. Contact the school counselor about their bullying policies; there is a chance that they have ways to monitor certain kids closely before disciplinary action is taken. This at least makes them aware of the situation, and helps you work together as a team instead of taking the situation into your own hands – like contacting the bully’s parents directly, you “dealing” with the bully yourself, etc. Chances are, your child is not the only victim.

How to Reconcile

The common phrase of responding to bullies is often: “Stand up to them!” Depending on your parenting style and moral leanings this can look different for everyone. Most parents will give their child permission to physically fight back and defend themselves if a bully is violent. Many say that by a simple retaliation it allows a bully to “get a taste of their own medicine.”

Some parents are more pacifistic in approaching these conflicts and will teach their child to respond in non-physical ways. In verbal fights, this could mean just saying something like, “knock it off,” “please stop,” or saying nothing at all and walking away.

To avoid bullies, teach your children the value of utilizing the buddy system. When a child is alone and isolated they can be singled out quicker and become easier to corner. This means having at least one friend accompany them to their locker, the bathroom, sitting on the bus or in the hallways – basically anywhere where authority is not constantly present.

Although, many bullies will back off if they are simply ignored. The rise they can get out of someone else may be the only gratification they seek. If a bully receives no reaction from a victim at all, the need to tease and fight is lost. However, this concept can be difficult to grasp for a lot of children, as when we are provoked defense is the natural response. It may help if there is some practice role-playing that takes place between you and your child. For example, say something to the effect of, “If ____ teases you on the playground tomorrow, what are you going to do?” These discussions can stay with the child throughout their day and help them remember what to do when they are put in certain scenarios.
Strong child with muscles drawn on chalkboard in elementary school
Each victim, parent, school, and overall situation is different, so in the event of bullying there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Whatever the case may be, bullying is not to be disregarded as something that builds character (even if this is the end result). Negativity only breeds negativity. While sure, children should learn the value of  “sticks and stones” in terms of developing thicker skin, there is something about a child feeling unsafe in an environment they spend the most time in that should not be ignored. Where the character-building comes from is the confidence you place in your child no matter what; and the safety and comfort they can receive from you even in the face of adversity.