Philadelphia’s Soda Tax is a Win for Kids!

Earlier this week, Philadelphia became the first major U.S. city to pass a sugary drink tax. This is a win when it comes to kids’ dental health. Big Soda companies spent millions of dollars attempting to defeat Mayor Jim Kenney’s proposal.

The City Council approved a budget that included a 1.5-cents per ounce tax on sugary drinks. The added income will fund Philly’s citywide Pre-K, community schools, parks, libraries, and rec centers.

Reducing consumption of sugary drinks can lead to lower rates of diabetes, heart disease, stroke and other chronic diseases. Not to mention the impact of soda on a child’s teeth!

Consuming soft drinks can have a negative effect on your child’s dental health. The American Dental Association explains that excess sugar intake, especially in sugared soft drinks, can damage the enamel on teeth. Bacteria feed off of sugar and form plaque on teeth. This can eventually lead to excess plaque buildup and cavities. If your child doesn’t brush his teeth after a sugary drink, cavities can form, leading to tooth decay and gum disease.

This movement prioritizes heart-healthy families over beverage industry profits, and encourages people to rethink their drink. It empowers citizens to work together for positive changes for their health and for their communities, even in the face of tough opponents.

Philadelphia joins the city of Berkeley, California, in enacting an added tax on sugary beverages. With this victory, it will be interesting to see how many other communities will introduce measures to benefit their city’s overall health.

Keeping your teeth & gums healthy

According to the American Medical Association, your oral health is directly affiliated to your general health so to a degree, keeping your mouth, teeth, and gums healthy will prevent any unwarranted problems later down the road. The structure of a tooth is important. And your knowledge of it will be helpful in understanding how to properly and effectively maintain good hygiene.

Your teeth not only start the digestive process by helping you bite and chew food, they also give shape to your face and play an important part in speech. The pulp that makes up the center of each tooth contains blood vessels that nurture the tooth, along with nerves that sense heat, cold, pressure, and pain. A tough, durable substance called dentin surrounds the pulp, and a hard material called enamel covers the dentin. Although tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the body, acids formed during the breakdown of simple carbohydrates such as sugar in food can erode the enamel and cause tooth decay. When your enamel wears down, your teeth may become discolored, the edges of your front teeth may look transparent and in later stages, you may feel extreme dental sensitivity when consuming hot or cold foods and fluids. Failing to brush and floss your teeth every day promotes tooth decay and can lead to gum disease, which can cause pockets to form between the gums and teeth, where infectious material can collect. Left untreated, gum disease ultimately leads to tooth loss.

Not taking proper care of your mouth can lead to many dental problems: bad breath, gum disease, cavities, sensitivity and even tooth loss. Playing a vital role in keeping up with oral hygiene can ward off all these scary things. Here are some hopefully helpful tips that will allow you to respond to the care of your mouth before it’s too late.

A healthy lifestyle makes a healthy smile. Regular exercise and a healthy diet decrease the chances of gum disease; which goes beyond the mouth and may raise the risk for heart disease and stroke. A poor diet filled with sugary foods and liquids can lead to cavities. Reduce the incidence of tooth decay by practicing good oral hygiene and by cutting back on sweets, avoid snacking between meals, and eat a healthy diet. Snacking on candy and other sugary foods or refined carbs (such as cookies) between meals harm your teeth because the bacteria in the mouth that break down such foods produce acid that can dissolve tooth enamel. Don’t give your kids fruit roll-ups or gummy candy that sticks to the teeth. If you want a better alternative to giving your child candy, make sure it is sugar-free gum or small amounts of chocolate (since chocolate quickly dissolves in the mouth).

Good oral hygiene takes time. It is a gradual process. Positive changes in your routine don’t have to be big- start small. Brush your teeth for about two to three minutes, twice a day, about the length of your favorite song. Squeeze some toothpaste onto your brush, place your toothbrush at a 45 degree angle toward the gum line, and gently move the brush back and forth. A helpful tip about your toothbrush: use only a soft bristled brush to prevent damage to your gums that could cause them to recede. (A harder brush doesn’t necessarily mean it will scrape off the tartar.) Use interdental tools such as floss and mouthwash. Flossing once daily before bedtime (even before you brush). Using dental floss helps to remove plaque buildup and dislodge food particles from between the teeth.

Visit your dentist at least twice a year for a checkup and professional cleaning.

Well versed in oral hygiene

We should all be mindful of our health. And within certain boundaries we are. For instance, our diets. We spend countless hours worrying about how we look and in what physical condition we are in. But, with our physical health comes our oral health. It is a horrible mistake to blow it off as if it doesn’t matter as much as what our ideal body image does. Where lies the insecurity of an unhealthy mouth? If statistics about your health affect the way you perceive yourself and in turn gives you a goal to work towards, here are some dental statistics that will affect the way you handle your oral hygiene, and hopefully pull you towards a better understanding of the importance and safety of your oral well-being.

The anatomy of the mouth incorporates not just your teeth and gums. Your mouth also embodies tissues, palates, the mucosal lining of the mouth, your tongue, lips, salivary glands etc… keeping up-to-date with the oral health of your mouth is serious. The American Academy of Pediatrics notes that without professional dental prevention or treatment, advanced tooth decay can occur in children by age three. The foundation for good oral health starts at a young age.

Reports from the Surgeon General have directed our attention to early childhood caries. Caries have increased and the disease remains roughly untreated among children by the preschool age. Children have unique needs in the area of oral welfare. If we are talking statistics, 16.2 % of children between the ages of 6-19 have untreated cavities. Did you know that among that age group, 40 % have tooth decay by kindergarden?
The number of children who are susceptible to being exposed for cavities are significant. Children with special needs, children of mothers with a high rate of tooth decay, children with plaque and demineralization and/or staining, children with a bottle or who breastfeed throughout the night, children from families of low socioeconomic class are especially liable or subject to some influence of cavities.

Oral hygiene entails keeping the mouth clean by regularly brushing teeth, flossing, and using mouthwash. And without the essential cleanliness of a regular regimen or being seen by a dentist your mouth will be exposed to bacteria. Bacteria produces acid that destroys the tooth’s enamel and the dentin (the layer under the enamel). And if ignorance is bliss-not knowing what really goes on in the mouth makes it super easy to blow off an important health factor. The thing to see here is the long lasting and negative impact on the overall health of someone who does not keep up with their oral “shape”.

Pregnancy and Dental Health

We clearly value the health of our children. The oral health of our kids is crucial for their development, but it starts long before the first teeth start to come in. Oral health starts in the womb, it’s very important that the mother is concerned with the health of her baby.

Receiving dental health care is harmful to neither the mother or the child. Not only that, but taking care of your own teeth before you have a child reduces their risk of any sort of oral inconveniences throughout life. A lack of healthcare can compromise your unborn baby.

Women with a higher likelihood of getting cavities are much more likely to pass them onto their children in the first two years of their life. If your child suffers from poor dental health they are more likely to have eating and sleeping problems, possibly causing them to fall behind in school or work. Research can show that dental health during pregnancy might be too late, and that it should be addressed in the pre-conception time period. The risk of ignoring dental care during pregnancy can complicate matters, and receiving care while pregnant can do no harm.

Many women are eligible for special dental coverage while pregnant. There are lots of no-cost care plans provided by insurance companies under the Health Insurance Exchanges. Having a child is a wonderful experience, while you envision 10 perfect fingers and a cute button nose don’t forget about a beautiful smile.

Dental Health Care

Dental health care includes more than just teeth. Essentially all parts of the mouth are included in oral care. Anything ranging from your gums to your lips, jaw, or tongue. When we talk about the importance of dental, we often only think about our children’s teeth; there is really so much more to it. Children deal with problems far greater than cavities, issues like cleft palate, infection and even gum decay in younger teens. Even though it is clear that all of these issues are on the rise, pediatric dental care is hard to get access to. Dental insurance and providers are hard enough to work with, but a lack of knowledge is what is truly hurting our mouths.

Children face a unique set of needs when it comes to proper dental care. Oral care is imperative from first tooth all the way through pubescent years. There are groups of children at particular risk, that often get forgotten. Children whose parents have a history of tooth decay, yellowing, or plaque, as well as children who brestfeed or eat continually throughout the night are at a significantly higher risk. Even children with special care needs face high risk of poor dental care than most. Children that face such issues as infants and toddlers are more likely to lack proper oral care as teens and adults.

Oral health care should be addressed even before your child starts developing teeth, and from then on it should be considered a matter of importance. In children and adults alike, the rest of our health is dependent on our mouths. Be aware of minor issues that could become major if not addressed on time! Protect your child’s teeth, along with the rest of the mouth to ensure proper hygiene from a young age.

The Affordable Care Act

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed by President Obama just six years ago. The ACA was possibly the biggest health reform in the country, and has had a major impact on the dental care system along with multiple other health benefits. Paired with a multitude of organizations, the Affordable Care Act is experiencing a growth in implementation. What this means is that families can now reap the full benefits provided by this act, including health insurance. There are more children today, than any time in our past that receive dental health care. There are no long dollar limits, annually or yearly, that prevent children from receiving this dental health care.

Buying health care is hardly a simple task, and although there are endless benefits to the Affordable Care Act it still has its downfalls. Children’s healthcare is often not included into packages, so it has to be purchased separately, this causes additional fees. In addition to this Congress does not offer provisions for finding and reducing these conflicts.

While every law has its flukes, The Affordable Care Act has favorable outcomes for the direction it is headed. It has successfully reduced the amount of pocket expenses families are required to pay. Many states are taking steps toward “standard plan designs,” which help families financially as well as giving them easy options to chose from. The ACA is a progressing service that is helping thousands of families. ACA has helped to stress the importance of affordable dental care. Taking care of your teeth is extremely important, and those who support ACA recognize that.

Children Poverty

Heartbreaking statistics show that nearly half of the United States population of children live in poverty. Alongside this decimating statistic, research has also shown that children living in the lower classes are not nearly as healthy as they should be. These children are lacking the essential nutrients that it takes to maintain a healthy body. Paired with this, these children are also doing poorer in school and are more likely to be inattentive in class as well as defiant and lazy. Child poverty is not easily escaped. Because these psycho social skills are harder to develop children are often forced to remain impoverish through adulthood.

Although social mobility is difficult to attain, there are lots of actions we can take to improve the lives of our children. We cannot ignore any aspect of our health, and good health starts with good teeth. Children living poorer lifestyles are more likely to have bad teeth. This is caused by an improper diet and lack of hygiene. It is imperative to make sure your child is eating the way they should, getting plenty of natural, healthy foods that have not been processed. Some families can’t afford to eat like this, daily challenges like these can often dictate what we view as a priority. This means that these families, although they may value oral health cannot make it an economic priority. What is hard for a lot of families to understand, regardless of social class, is that our whole lives revolve around our mouths.

Knowing this, dental health should take extreme priority starting at a young age. A healthy diet and proper dental hygiene are crucial to the remaining aspects of our lives. Even minor changes to your child’s daily life like flossing or switching from candy to fruit can make major impacts on their overall health.

The Effects of Sugar

A new study reporting on children’s health has stated that obese children can significantly lower their blood pressure and cholesterol by reducing the amount of sugar they intake. The researchers who conducted this study were focusing on the effects that sugar has on the body, whether sugar itself is bad or if the abuse of it can contribute to long term wellness problems. They conducted this study by replacing sugars in kids diets with the same amount of carbs so that the child’s weight and calorie intake remained at a constant level. After doing this they could then test the blood pressure and cholesterol in the children.

What the study found was that they could drastically lower a child’s cholesterol and blood pressure without changing the calorie intake. This is important because children need proper nutrition to grow, and through the effects of this experiment we have discovered the benefits of eating right. By simply replacing artificial sweeteners and fake sugars one can significantly improve their health, this is true for kids and adults alike. The study conducted only took 10 days, so in less than two weeks one’s health can turn around for the better. High blood pressure and cholesterol affects millions of people daily. How great is it to know that simply removing artificial sugar from your diet could change your life.

Children only need around 20 grams of sugar a day – this is no surprise considering how much energy they already have! These 20 grams can be easy to get through healthy alternatives like fruits. It only takes two apples a day to supply your child with the proper amount of sugar! Simple, health-conscious decisions don’t take a toll on your wallet or your body so why not start turning your life around today?

Children and Sleep Habits

Sleep problems are a very common issue among parents. Every child has different sleep habits and needs. In this article we can address a few of those.

Many parents are curious when they should start “sleep training” their child. This is a process of teaching a child to be on their own and asleep after they go to bed. Pediatric doctors suggest starting this process around four to six months of age. If your child is crying and cannot stay asleep it is not bad or dangerous to let them self soothe himself back to sleep. Allowing your child to cry will not affect the bond they have with you in any negative way. Alongside this, in the later hours of the night your child can comfortably go eight hours without food.

As your child gets older they may want to start sleeping with you. The first thing you have to do is decide if you are okay with this. There is nothing wrong with letting your child sleep with you but there are also benefits to having them sleep on their own. If your child is persistent, try a positive re enforcement system. Offer little rewards for each night they sleep alone. Try to talk to your child about this issue before bedtime, when they are not tired and can register what you want from them.

A good bedtime routine is also crucial. Lots of screen time or activity before bed can be bad for your child. To help them fall asleep easily try limiting screen time to one hour before bed. On top of this, more relaxing activities like reading a book or taking a bath are far better for a child before bed than activities like tag or dancing. Your child is allowed to be happy and energetic, but being calm and relaxed before bed ensure that your child is getting the right amount of sleep they need each night.

This leads to When is a good bedtime? When your child wakes up in the morning and how they feel throughout the day will depend on when they go to sleep. Generally 10/14 hours is prefered for younger children. If your child is having trouble staying awake during the day or waking up in the morning, try moving their bedtime forward in 15 minute increments. This will allow your child’s sleep schedule to adapt as well as keep from overwhelming or upsetting them.


Many of our everyday habits affect our lives in ways we do not even realize. These little habits become so regular to our lives that they become invisible. While many of these habits are harmless, like parking in the same spot or watching the nightly news, some of our routines can be dangerous.

A recent study conducted by Technicians Medical School in Haifa, Israel was interested in the effects of cellphones on men’s health. Most of the world’s population carries their cell phone in their front pocket. When researchers studied 100 men who visited a fertility clinic they found that men who kept their cell phone in their front pocket were at a significantly higher risk of having lower sperm count and being less fertile. Up to 47% of men involved in the study were greatly affected by this simple habit. It was premised that the electromagnetic waves produced by cell phones is what caused the significant decrease in fertility and sperm count. During this study they also found that men are at a higher risk in cases where they slept with their phone nearer to them, rather than on the nightstand or across the room.

A small change in custom can significantly impact your health. By placing your phone in your bag or even your back pocket, you can drastically reduce the impact that it has. Habits as simple as leaving your phone across the room while you sleep can save your health. While addressing little habits like these you are increasing your overall health. As our daily lives progress we develop little habits like these, and many others that are potentially harmful. All it takes to make healthy changes in our lives is the simple realization that something needs to be changed.

Along with habits like where you keep your phone, what other lifestyle changes could you make to benefit your health?