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Here we are in that time of year when coughs, colds, and flu symptoms can make our lives miserable. Most people turn to over the counter medication to either relieve some of their symptoms or lessen their effects. Did you know that these medicines can result in tooth decay?

Ingredients in Medications that Cause Tooth Decay

Many cough drops and liquid medications contain a variety of ingredients that make you and your child more susceptible to tooth decay:

-High Fructose and Corn Syrup. These high sugar ingredients contribute to tooth decay. These are generally sticky sugars which cause your mouth environment to become more acidic and also give the bacteria in your mouth the sugars to break down and attack the enamel of your teeth. When you combine the sticky sugars with dry mouth, high carbs ingested while ill, and decreased oral hygiene you are putting your mouth at high risk for decay.

-Citric Acid. This type of acid can cause tooth enamel to erode and wear down. In addition, the higher acid levels allow bacteria to do their work at a rapid pace.

-Alcohol. The addition of alcohol in some popular cold and cough syrups also has a drying effect on the mouth. Saliva helps to naturally rinse the sugars and acids away from your teeth. With alcohol present it means less saliva will be present, the sugars and acids remain in the mouth even longer, leading to increased risk for tooth decay.

These risks can be magnified if medication is taken just before bedtime. The effect of taking liquid medication before bedtime is not very different from drinking juice or soft drinks right before bedtime. This is because you produce less saliva while you sleep, sugar and acids remain in contact with the teeth longer, increasing your risk for tooth decay.

What to Do?

-Take Medicine at Meal Time. Take liquid medication at meal times instead of bedtime so that more saliva is produced to rinse away the sugars and acids.

-Brush. Try to brush following each incidence of using these medicines. This will remove any excess in your mouth as well as neutralize the acidic environment these medicines can create. Not only will you be doing your teeth some good but you probably will feel better with a cleaner mouth.

-Rinse. This is just as important as brushing in this scenario. Rinsing with water will neutralize the acids as well as “wet” your mouth so it does not dry out as quickly.

-Sugar free gum and lozenges. consider chewing sugar free or xylitol gum following taking your medicine or when your mouth feels dry. Choose sugar free lozenges instead of the sugar loaded ones that sit and stay in your mouth for hours on end.

-Drink Water. When we are not feeling well, we tend to drink sugary beverages such as juice and carbonated beverages. Drinking plenty of water will neutralize acids, wash away sugar, and help you heal more quickly.

-Choose Pill Form. If it is available, choose a pill form of the medication instead of syrup.

Conclusion

Medication is usually unavoidable when we are sick.  While you are sick, try to avoid inflicting further complications.  Use good judgement and try to maintain your dental health even when not feeling your best. Managing the type of medication you take, when you take it, and how you neutralize the effects,will go a long way to keeping you healthy and happy.

Smiling Facts

It’s a simple fact. A smile does much more than express happiness. We usually think about smiling when trying to give our best appearance for others, job interviews, performances, etc. We also smile when we find something funny, or are about to laugh. In general, we don’t give our smiles much thought, they just happen. We also don’t give our smiles the credit they deserve. There have been numerous research studies on smiling and laughter, and the effects that they have on others and ourselves.

Here are a few facts you may not have been aware of :

1. Smiles Are Contagious. Research has shown that people have trouble frowning or being sad when looking at others who are smiling. We tend to smile unconsciously while watching others smile. A smiling person walks into a room and brings happiness with them. Smile a lot and you will draw people to you.

2. Smiling Can Be A Stress Reliever. Endorphins are released immediately upon smiling. Even a forced smile has the same effect on our bodies. The endorphin release will change your mood allowing stress to be relieved. Stress can really show on our faces. Smiling helps to prevent us from looking tired, worn down, and overwhelmed. When you are stressed, take time to put on a smile. The stress should be reduced and you’ll be better able to take action.

3. The Ability to Smile is with us at Birth. many of our behaviors are learned behaviors from our surroundings, but scientists believe that all babies are born with the ability to smile. Even babies with disabilities are able to smile at birth.

4. Smiling is an Immune System Booster. Smiling has a definite physical effect on our bodies. Smiling causes us to feel more relaxed which in turn equals a healthier, stronger body. Fight the flu and colds with smiles.

5. Smiling is Easier Than Frowning. It is a proven fact that your body has to expend more energy frowning than it does smiling. More muscles are used when frowning than smiling.

6. Women Smile More Than Men. Women smile at a higher percentage than men. They are also known to make better eye contact with people.

7. There are 19 Different Types of Smiles. Researchers have identified 19 distinct types of smiles and placed them into 2 categories: Polite and Sincere smiles. Polite smiles use fewer muscles whereas sincere smiles use more muscles.

8. Smiles are more Attractive than Makeup. Studies show that almost 70% of people find women more attractive when they smile than when they are wearing makeup.

9. Smiling can use up to 53 muscles. 

10. Smiling is a Universal Sign of Happiness. While hand shakes, hugs, and bows all have varying meanings across cultures, smiling is known around the world and in all cultures as a sign of happiness and acceptance.

11. It is the first attribute people notice in others. A smile is the first thing someone will notice about you. It sends a message which makes you more likeable, accessible, valued, and more likely to succeed in the work force and in relationships. A smile leaves a lasting impression on others.

Smiling Conclusion

The universal symbol of happiness is a smile. A smile can change the world for you, and all those around you. There are plenty of reasons to smile, usually without thought or planning, but with just a bit of effort, smiling can become a great new habit for you. Remember the positive nature of a smile,  everything looks brighter from behind a smile. Smile….pass it on!!

Teething - The eruption and cutting of teeth especially the primary teeth.

Teething can be a very difficult time for parents and child. The child will experience some level of discomfort and most parents cannot bear to see their children hurting at all. Not to mention the possible loss of sleep for baby and parents.

Signs and Symptoms of Teething

By age 2 and 1/2 most children have all 20 of their primary teeth. During the process of teeth erupting into the mouth, your child may experience some signs and symptoms. These can include the following:

-Excessive Drooling. Many babies drool so much during the teething process that it is hard to even begin to keep them dry. Teething stimulates drooling and it begins for most babies at about 10 weeks of age.

 -Rash on cheeks or chin. The rash development is linked to excessive drooling. If your baby is drooling excessively, they may develop a dry skin rash around the mouth, and on their chin due to contact with the excessive saliva. Drying the skin around the mouth frequently will help prevent the rash. Use of a gentle skin cream will help moisturize the rash, helping it to heal faster.

 -Coughing. Sometimes the drool will make babies cough for no apparent reason. The baby is actually gagging a little on the excessive drool. The baby should be monitored if this persists and also check to ensure there are no other signs or symptoms of cold, allergies, or flu present.

-Chewing or Biting. As the teeth begin to push through the gums it can cause some discomfort for the baby. Babies learn very quickly that counter pressure will sooth that discomfort. That is why they enjoy chewing on things, especially cold, around this time. This can also be a tough time for mom if she is breast feeding.

-Discomfort or Pain. Every baby will be affected differently. Some experience terrible pain and others barely anything. The first teeth to erupt usually cause the most pain or discomfort. Most babies eventually get used to the pain or discomfort and it is not as severe after the initial tooth eruptions.

 -Irritability. Babies will become irritable during this time as their sleep is affected by chronic discomforts. The same could be said for some parents!

 -Refusing to Feed or Eat. The suction of feeding can cause babies discomfort during this time. Teething babies sometimes become fussy about feedings and become even angrier when they get hungrier and hungrier. Talk to your pediatrician about possibly offering solid foods to baby during this time if they are not already on them. The chewing will relieve some of the discomfort.

 -Development of Diarrhea. This has caused some division among pediatricians but some parents report the development of diarrhea during the teething process. Either way it is important to keep your baby hydrated during the teething process. Speak to your pediatrician if the diarrhea persists.

-Development of a Low grade fever. The fever is believed to be due to the inflammatory process in the body. As the teeth erupt, the babies gum tissue becomes inflamed and this inflammation can sometimes produce a low grade fever (less than 101 degrees F). Treat as you would any other low grade fever but if it persists call your doctor.

-Poor Sleeping Habits. The teething process does not only happen during the day, it can spill over into the evenings. The teething discomfort can disrupt nap time as well as night time sleeping.

-Gum Hematoma. Teething can cause bleeding under the gum tissue, which looks like a bluish lump. It is not anything to be worried about and can heal faster with the help of a cold compress.

-Ear pulling; cheek rubbing. Teething babies may tug on their ears or rub their cheeks or chin. The reason for this is that these areas all share the same nerve pathways. Discomfort in the mouth can travel to other areas in and around the face. Be on the lookout for an ear infection as well. Babies who have ear infections have similar symptoms.

Relief From Teething

There are some things parents can do to make their babies feel better. They include:

-Chewing. As mentioned earlier, chewing soothes teething babies. Some good choices might be rubber teething rings and rattles for them to chew on. Another good option is a frozen, wet washcloth to let them chew on. Our babies liked cold, peeled carrots, they are large,  impossible to swallow or chew, but taste good and are not too hard. The cold will relieve the discomfort.

-Rubbing. Your finger rubbed firmly on baby’s gums, or a wet washcloth, can provide the same soothing counter pressure. Your baby may not like it at first because it might initially hurt, but the counter pressure will bring relief.

-Pain relief. If all of the above do not work to relieve the teething discomfort you may want to turn to some sort of pain relief. Acetominophen (Tylenol) is an excellent choice, but as always, check with your pediatrician before using any medications. Some people like to use topical numbing agents, like Anbesol, but babies tend to get very upset with the feeling it gives.

Conclusion on Teething

Teething can be a difficult time for both parents and baby, but armed with good educational information, you can get through it as easily as possible. Follow the tips above to keep you and your baby happy and comfortable.