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HealthBeat This month’s feature topics are

Dental Health & Heart Health

HealthBeat February: Dental Health & Heart Health

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opportunity for you to reach a health-conscious audience of readers. Next Month’s Topics: Nutrition & Athletic Training

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How exercise benefits your heart

Improved health is a primary motivator among people who routinely exercise. Exercise can help people feel better about themselves and their appearance, and it has considerable effects on various parts of the body, including the heart. Cardiovascular disease is the leading

killer of both men and women in the United States. Exercise can be one of the most effective ways to reduce the risk for cardiovascular issues like heart attack, high cholesterol and more. In fact, cardiologists at the New England Baptist Hospital say exercise is not only a risk preventative,

but also a healing balm of sorts for heart health. Exercise can help the heart become more efficient and more capable of pumping blood throughout the body, says the health experts behind Kaiser Permanente health plans. Even light to moderate exercise can be highly effective at improving heart health. Harvard Medical School says exercise also promotes positive physiological changes, such as encouraging the heart’s arteries to dilate more readily. Exercise also can help with the body’s sympathetic nervous system (which controls heart rate and blood pressure) to be less reactive. Ischemic preconditioning (IPC) is another way that exercise can potentially benefit the heart. According to a 2017 article in JAMA Cardiology, heart disease patients who exercised found that exercise could trigger short periods of ischemia, or reduced blood flow to the heart. After resting for a few minutes, these people saw improved performance when they renewed exercise and got their heart rates up. It is believed that small doses of IPC can help

the heart adapt more readily with ischemia and avoid a major response issue down the road. Those at the Cardiovascular Performance Program at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital found that IPC could reduce damage from heart attack by as much as 50%. Physical activity also allows better blood flow in the small blood vessels around the heart, potentially preventing clogs that can lead to heart attacks. Furthermore, there is some evidence that exercise can help the body grow more blood vessel branches so there are additional routes blood can take if a usual path is blocked by fatty deposits or narrow arteries. Johns Hopkins Medical Center says exercise also works like a beta-blocker medication that can slow the heart rate naturally to alleviate hypertension. It also can raise levels of HDL, the good cholesterol in the body, helping to improve overall cholesterol levels. There are several reasons why exercise is important to heart health. It’s never too late to get with a fitness regimen to prevent or reverse cardiac episodes.

HealthBeat February: Dental Health & Heart Health

Make the dentist a fun experience Visits to the dentist for periodic cleanings and checkups are an important component of oral hygiene. Dentists also may be the first people to identify potential issues that can affect health elsewhere in the body. Many people are unaware that children should visit the dentist early in their lives. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that a child should visit the dentist by age one or within six months of the eruption of his or her first tooth. However, many parents wait until much later — age two or three — to take kids to the dentist, offers Delta Dental Plans. Hesitance to visit the dentist may stem from personal fears or perceived reactions by children. Primary teeth may eventually fall out, but they shouldn’t be ignored. They save space for permanent teeth and serve other functions. Therefore, parents should begin to acclimate children to the dentist at a young age to make the experience fun and even enjoyable.

Lead by example

Children who witness their parents putting off going to the dentist or being apprehensive about visiting the dentist may develop their own fears. Always paint the dentist in a positive light and keep appointments.

Focus on the good aspects

Talk up all the benefits of going to the dentist, such as having a squeaky clean

and fresh mouth. Many hygienists will hand out small toys after a successful visit, or at the least a great new toothbrush and other fun products to try.

Get a tour of the office

Ask the staff if your child can get a special tour of the office with explanations of all the tools and equipment. Understanding what to expect the next time around in a no-pressure situation can make the process much easier for everyone involved. The dentist may be able to also give a test ride on the exam chair, moving it up and down, as well as showing off the water fountain and oral irrigator.

Avoid giving false hope

Do not tell a child that “everything will be OK” at the dentist’s office. If a child needs treatment that may be uncomfortable, he or she may not trust you the next time a dental visit is scheduled, according to Joel H. Berg, D.D.S., M.S., Director of the Department of Dentistry at Seattle Children’s Hospital. Avoid words like “shots,” “pain,” “hurt,” or even “cavities.” Dentists, particularly pediatric dentists, may have their own vocabulary that can assuage fears and seem less alarming to kids. Over time, dental visits can become an easy routine with children, setting them up for a lifetime of healthy mouths and teeth.

keep their smiles

Healthy & Bright

When can children brush their own teeth? Parents quickly learn that their children go through a transition marked by a desire to be more independent. They’re picking out their own mismatched clothes and no longer want any help when solving puzzles or complex toys. That newfound independence signals getting older and can be a healthy thing to nourish. But what happens when a youngster suddenly believes he or she is capable of brushing his or her teeth without assistance? Parents wrestling with their kids’ can-do attitude and if it’s wise to allow them to brush their teeth unassisted can familiarize themselves with certain guidelines to determine their youngsters’ readiness. According to Scripps Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics, most kids are at least six years old before they have developed the finesse and dexterity to handle a toothbrush in a manner that will effectively remove plaque. Dentists also may ask if the child can tie his or her own shoes, which can serve as a barometer of readiness to wield a toothbrush without assistance. Pediatricians and pediatric dentists

recommend that children visit a dentist as soon as a child’s first tooth starts to appear. This also is when parents should begin to clean their children’s teeth. As a child ages, the natural proclivity to want to take charge of brushing teeth takes hold. The child may not yet have the manual dexterity to brush alone, but parents can encourage the child to brush and then go over the teeth as a “double check.” This helps foster independence while also ensuring teeth are fully cleaned. Flossing may require even more dexterity than brushing, but it is essential for sloughing off plaque that accumulates between teeth and below the gum line, according to Parents magazine. Moms and dads can introduce their children to pre-threaded Y-shaped flossing tools, which are easier to handle than loose floss. Parents will have to check on children even as they age to be sure they are practicing good oral hygiene. Parents who are in doubt about their children’s readiness can work with dentists or dental hygienists to assess skills and get other pointers.

Gentle dental care for growing smiles. Come see us for your child’s first appointment!

Let Our Family Care for Your Family! Michael R. Dana, D.D.S., P.C. Monique M. Dana, D.D.S., MICOI Bradly R. Dana, D.D.S., MICOI Nicole D. Dana, D.D.S., MICOI

State of the Art Air Sanitation Technology 1306 Main Street 200 Federal Avenue Spearfish, SD Rapid City, SD 605.642.7727 605.342.6038 A General & Cosmetic Dental Practice


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