Every February healthcare professionals and citizens across the country observe American Heart Month. Every year more than 600,000 Americans die from heart disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The number one cause of death for Americans, heart disease affects all ages, genders, and ethnicities. Risk factors include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, and excessive alcohol use.
Heart disease occurs when the arteries leading to the heart become clogged. Although heart disease has been around for thousands of years, we do know that many aspects of modern life exacerbate risk factors and make people more prone to heart disease and heart failure. Today, states the CDC, one in four deaths in the U.S. is attributable to heart disease. Heart disease can affect everyone, but taking stock of your health risks, activities, and diet can help you reduce your risk.
Knowing the risk factors for heart disease and how to reduce them can help people make healthier life choices and diminish their risk for heart attacks or other cardiovascular diseases. The best way to protect your heart is to stay active, eat a healthy and balanced diet, and reduce your daily stress. To celebrate American Heart Month, take some time to learn about heart health risks, find your favorite heart-healthy activities, and cook some healthy meals with your family.
Good childhood dental health is the cornerstone of a healthy life
It’s never too early to start thinking about your child’s dental health.The American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommend scheduling your child for their first dentist appointment within six months of their first tooth breaking the gum line and no later than their first birthday.
Your child’s future dental needs depend on their baby teeth. These teeth are important to hold space for the adult teeth, chewing (also known as mastication), speaking, and smiling. Tooth decay and gum disease are the most common oral health problems today, and they are preventable.
Good oral health care helps ensure our children’s teeth and gums stay healthy and strong so they can grow up feeling and looking good, free from tooth pain and other issues that can impact their ability to eat and get the nourishment they need.
Proper brushing and regular checkups are critical for your child’s oral health. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), the time to start brushing your child’s teeth is when the first tooth comes in.
ADA recommendations include:
- Using a toothbrush specifically designed for children
- For children under 3 years of age, use a rice-grain-sized amount of toothpaste
- For children 3-6 years of age, use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste
- Brush teeth gently twice a day (morning and night) or as directed by your dentist
- Brush for two minutes with a fluoride-containing toothpaste and clean between the teeth once daily with floss or another interdental cleaner
If your child is cavity-prone, fluoride treatments or dental sealants can help protect their smile. Fluoride treatments use a high concentration of fluoride which helps remineralize and strengthen tooth enamel that has been softened due to decay. Dental sealants can also help prevent cavities by forming a protective barrier on the teeth to prevent harmful bacteria from forming on them.
The pandemic is no time to put your family’s health care on hold. Since February is the month with a spotlight on heart and dental health, it’s also a good time to schedule appointments for yourself and your children to get your heart and teeth checked out. Contact the healthcare professionals here at Community Health Connections today!