Smart Tips for Safeguarding Your Child’s Oral Health

Tooth decay has become a very common chronic disease in children aged between 6 and 11 years as well as teenagers between 12 and 19 years. In fact, according to the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics), it is a lot more common than asthma and hay fever. By kindergarten age, many children have tooth decay. It is important for parents to start preventive care early in order to save money and enhance their children’s oral health in the long-run. Ideally, your child should have his or her first dentist visit by the time he or she is one year old.

Selecting Your Dentist

Ideally, a pediatric dentist should be chosen for your child’s oral health issues. Children’s bodies differ greatly from those of adults and so do their teeth. Pediatric dentists have expertise in these differences and should therefore be given preference over your own dentist.

The First Visit

Parents are advised to take their children for their first dental visit at their first birthday or when their first tooth appears, whichever is earlier. In the past, parents would take their children for a dentist visit when they turned three, but this was only because that was when a general dentist could handle a child. However, a lot of damage from cavities or tooth decay has often occurred by this time.

Toothpaste

Children can begin using regular toothpaste by the time they turn three. In fact, if your child has enough control for potty training, he or she can spit out fluoridated toothpaste as well. Although children’s toothpastes are great for teaching children how to brush their teeth, they are also not very useful in protecting their teeth and oral health. On the other hand, avoid mouthwash until your child can definitely spit it all out. In addition, be sure to ask the dentist whether your child’s teeth require fluoride protection or a dental sealant.

Brushing

It is also advisable to have you child brush his or her teeth after breakfast rather than before and also at night, ensuring nothing else is taken except water. This allows the teeth to mineralize throughout the night using the minerals in saliva as well as those from the toothpaste to enhance his or her oral health.

Pacifiers and Thumb Sucking

If your child sucks her thumb or uses a pacifier, this should not go beyond the third birthday. Prolonged use of pacifiers or thumb sucking could easily deform your child’s upper dental arch, causing oral health problems such as protruding teeth or cross bite. Damage caused before 3 years can easily be fixed, but further damage would probably require braces to fix the problem.

Many parents fail to take their toddlers to the dentist, arguing that the baby teeth will fall out anyway. It is important to understand that although they will fall out, even baby teeth have an impact on the overall oral health of your child even later on. For instance, bacteria progression in baby teeth is pretty fast, seeping through them and reaching the bone, which could cause dental infections that might become fatal. This may also cause poor formation of the enamel for adult teeth that could lead to permanent damage.

Promoting Your Child’s Heart Health

Cardiovascular endurance is one of the five health-related components of physical fitness. It refers to the ability of the heart and lungs to supply oxygen and nutrients to the muscles. In simple terms, someone with great cardiovascular endurance has a strong heart – one that actually grows in size and pumps more blood with every beat, resulting in a lower heart rate.

As you can imagine, this can only happen when an individual regularly exercises. Typically, it’s aerobic exercise that improves cardiovascular fitness – but, where children are concerned, we can’t think of “aerobics” in the same way that we do for adults.

For one thing, children won’t exercise for the same reason we adults do. Most adults exercise for the sake of their health or because they want to look good. Children should never be encouraged to exercise because it will make them look good, even if obesity is an issue. Emphasizing exercise for the sake of appearance places the wrong value on physical activity – and appearance!

As far as health benefits are concerned, unlike adults, young children live very much in the present moment. They’re simply incapable of projecting themselves into the future. So you can’t expect your toddler, preschooler, or even your first-or second-grader to exercise because it will ensure he’s healthier at age 40 or he’ll look and feel better at 60. Even if you explain that exercise will make him healthier right now, you’re not likely to get an enthusiastic response. These are all adult concepts – adult goals – beyond a child’s cognitive and emotional capabilities.

Additionally, young children are not made for long, uninterrupted periods of strenuous activity. So expecting them to jog, walk briskly, or follow an exercise video for 20 to 30 minutes, particularly before the age of six, is not only unrealistic but could be damaging. At the very least, it can ensure an intense dislike of physical activity that results in a lifelong devotion to being a couch potato.

Rather, when we consider developmentally appropriate aerobic activities for children, we should be thinking along the lines of moderate to vigorous play and movement. Physical activity that’s moderately intense will increase the heart rate and breathing somewhat, while vigorous-intensity movement takes a lot more effort and will result in a noticeable increase in breathing. The latter can usually be sustained for a maximum of 20 to 30 minutes.

Riding a bicycle, swimming, walking, marching, chasing bubbles, playing tag, dancing to moderate- to fast-paced music, and jumping rope all fall under the heading of moderate- to vigorous-intensity exercise for children. In other words, it’s anything that keeps the child moving continuously, sometimes strenuously and sometimes less so.

The American Heart Association assures us we needn’t be concerned with target heart rates in children. Yes, we want to get their hearts pumping on a daily basis; but, whenever possible, we want to ensure it happens naturally. If you’ve noticed your child is definitely not getting enough exercise to improve cardiovascular fitness, joining in on the play yourself may be all that’s needed. Start slowly, gradually increasing the length of time you maintain movement (by a few minutes a week) and stopping immediately should your child experience any discomfort. Before you know it, daily or almost-daily, moderate- to vigorous-intensity activity will be a way of life.

Child Health – How to Treat Autism With a Nutritional Perspective

I. Definition

A nutritional supplement is also known as a food supplement, it is defined as a form of food supplement which is prepared with the intention of providing nutrients for people who for what ever reason are found to have a nutritional supplement deficiency, such as vitamins, minerals, fiber, fatty acids,amino acids, etc. Many countries define nutritional supplements as foods, while in others they are defined as drugs.

II. Types of nutritional supplement and how they help to treat autism

A. Vitamins

a) Vitamin A

Vitamin A helps to prevent the forming of free radical and improve immune function. It is an important vitamin, because most children with autism have weakened immune system, it is said that vitamin A helps to support immune memory and improve eye contact and behaviour of children with autism, if taking together with vitamin D.

b) Vitamin B complex

Vitamin B complex is a family vitamin, including thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6) , folic acid (B9) cyanocobalamin (B12) and choline. They work together to enhance function of the others, therefore deficiency of one B vitamin may reduce the effectiveness of the others. Vitamin B complex helps to improve function of nervous system and glands by creating enzymes needed by the brain.

i) Vitamin B1

Besides assisting the proper functioning of the heart, it also helps to improve the brain and central nerve system cells’ function in transmitting information. Study shows that vitamins B1 helps to improve test scores for children with autism. It can be found in Green, leafy vegetables, including spinach and peas.

ii) Vitamin B2

Besides it is important for helps for building healthy DNA, it also helps to improve mental function and control stress by increasing the production of methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase which is a rare genetic defect in some children with autism.

iii) Vitamin B3

Besides it is important for the production energy metabolism, it also helps to increases cerebral blood flow, thereby decreasing the risks of nervous symptoms such as emotional problems, irritability, memory loss, etc.

iv) Vitamin B6

It is said that vitamin B6 decreases behavioural problems, improves eye contact and attention span, and learning ability for children with autism, if working together with magnesium.

v) Folic acid

Folic acid also known as vitamin B9, it is vital in maintaining healthy brain, cell production and DNA duplication. Most children with autism are found to have folic acid deficiency, resulting in neurological problems, including slow thinking, depression, memory loss and digestive disorder.

vi) Vitamin B 12

Besides helping to improve the absorption of all essential nutrients into the body, it also enhances the proper function of the nervous system and the brain to work as they should, thereby decreasing the risks of nervous symptoms, including developmental regression, memory problems, slow thinking, anxiety and depression.

c) Vitamin C

Besides best known for its antioxidant in fighting against the forming of free radicals and bacteria and virus, it is also crucial to brain function. Some studies show that vitamin C helps to remove toxins from our body as well as heavy metals accumulated in the brain. In some studies vitamin C increases the IQ scores in normal and Down’s children and decreases confusion and depression for children with autism.

d) Vitamin E

Study shows that vitamin E helps to improve verbal speech for children with autism, if taking together with Omega 3 fatty acid.

B. Minerals

a) Magnesium

Magnesium is vital for the proper functioning of brain and muscle cells. Study shows that magnesium has a significant positive effects on behavior in children with autism if taking together with vitamin B6. Magnesium can be found abundantly green vegetables, seeds, nuts, and whole grains.

b) Zinc picolinate

Zinc is not only important for lower elevated levels of other minerals such as copper, it also helps to improve the function of nervous system and gastrointestinal tract, thereby decreasing the risk of nervous tension and increasing the digestive system in absorbing vital vitamins and minerals.

c) Calcium

It besides is a very important mineral for strong bone, it also plays an important role in neurological function in transmitting messages. Deficiency of calcium causes nervous tension, resulting in unpleasant dispositions, temper tantrums, muscles twitch and spasms, restless and insomnia.

d) Selenium

Selenium besides is one of essential enzymes, preventing the forming of free radical in the brain cells, it also is vital for for the production of glutathione which helps to eliminate the toxic metals and other harmful man made chemicals in our body.

e) Sulfates

Most children with autism have low or no ability to convert compounds to sulfate, leading to inability of the body in protect itself against environmental chemicals and some chemicals produced within the body, leading to nervous tension as resulting of environment toxins accumulated in some parts of the body.

g) Iodine

Iodine is vital for regulating the normal function of thyroid gland and preventing mental retardation. Most children with autism are found to have iodine deficiency, leading to behaviour problems.

f) Potassium

Some children with autism may experience low muscle tone as resulting of deficiency of low levels of potassium in the body, or inability of the body in absorbing potassium because of low levels of magnesium.

C. Other supplements

a) Taurine

Taurine is one amino acid which not only helps to calm the brain and inhibits the excitation of nerve cells, it also helps to blocks the excito-toxic effects of glutamate and aspartate, resulting in lessening the risk of extremely hyperactive and regression.

b) Glutamine

It is a precursor to the antioxidant glutathoine. Besides helping to prevent excessive cells oxidation, thus decreasing the risk of abnormal transmitting information of brain cells due to impaired cellular membranes, it also improves the digestive enzyme and probiotics to the gastrointestinal tract, thereby restoring the integrity of the digestive system.

c) Glutathione

Glutathione is found in the liver, it helps the liver to detoxify many harmful compounds through the bile secretion. Beside helping to protect our body against cells oxygen oxidation and increase the neorological function, it also replenishes the gastrointestine tract.

d) Carosine

It is said that carosine helps to enhance neurological function, including behavior, language, eye contact and speech. Studies shows that intake of carosine helps to improve the brain in controlling emotion, epileptic activity, cognitive, expressive speech, and abstract thinking for some children with autism.

e) Melatonin

Melatonin is a type of hormone which is produced by our brain to make us falling to sleep and normally used as sleep aid medicine for children. Since most children with autism having behavior problem, including sleep disturbance, melatonin improves the combination of better sleep, better control of biological rhythms and high anti-oxidant effect. No matter how good, it is, it is still a types of hormone, please consult with the children doctors before applying.

f) DMSA

DMSA is an oral chelating agent that helps to remove mercury and other metals from the body, including toxic heavy metals in the brain, resulting in improvement in social reciprocity for children with autism.

g) Coenzyme Q 10

Coenzyme Q 10 besides is important in maintaining a healthy immune system, it also helps improve the neurological functions by getting more oxygen to the brain and central nervous system, resulting in increasing energy as resulting of of the ATP energy cycle and improving mental alertness.

h) Essential Fatty Acids

Essential fatty acids Omega 3 and Omega 6, besides helping to maintain the normal function of brain cells, and decreasing the cholesterol in the blood stream. it also places an important role in enhancing the attention spans and improving concentration for children with autism. Essential fatty acids Omega 3 and 6 can be found in cold water fish, flax seed oil, olive oil and nuts and seeds.