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Healthy Tips

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GET ADEQUATE SLEEP

A consistent bedtime routine is important to your child's health. Children in kindergarten through grade six should get between nine and 11 hours of sleep.

 

Sleep quality is directly associated with behavior, eating habits and the ability to fight off infections. Lack of sleep increases cravings for junk food and often results in mood swings, temper tantrums, and an increased risk of infection.

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PRACTICE HEALTHY EATING HABITS

Promote your child's health with a nutritious breakfast, lunch and dinner, along with adequate hydration throughout the day. 

  • A healthy breakfast that includes protein, dairy and whole grains is directly correlated to positive behaviors throughout the day and improves your child's ability to focus and concentrate

  • A nutritious lunch includes lean meats, whole grains, fruits and vegetables

  • Top off the day with a family dinner. Mealtimes spent with family promote better health and well-being. It can help prevent fatigue, improve mood, aid digestion and weight maintenance and improve brain function

  • Promote healthy drink choices like water and milk. Limit or eliminate sugar-sweetened and caffeinated beverages. Caffeine can increase your child's heart rate and blood pressure, interrupt sleep and cause nervousness and irritability

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PREVENTING CAVITIES

Cavities happen when bacteria and food left on the teeth after eating are not brushed away. Acid collects on a tooth, softening its enamel until a hole — or cavity — forms.

 

Here's how to keep cavities away:

  • Start good oral habits early. Teach kids to brush at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and to floss regularly.

  • Get enough fluoride. Regular use of fluoride toughens the enamel, making it harder for acid to penetrate. Although many towns require tap water to be fluoridated, others don't. If your water supply is not fluoridated or if your family uses purified water, ask your dentist for fluoride supplements. Most toothpastes contain fluoride but toothpaste alone will not fully protect a child's teeth. Be careful, however, since too much fluoride can cause tooth discoloration. Check with your dentist before supplementing.

  • Limit or avoid some foods. Sugary foods, juices, candy (especially sticky gummy candy, gummy vitamins, or fruit leather or "roll-ups") can erode enamel and cause cavities. If your kids eat these foods, have them rinse their mouths or brush their teeth after eating to wash away the sugar. The same goes for taking sweetened liquid medicines: always have kids rinse or brush afterward.

As your child's permanent teeth grow in, the dentist can help prevent decay by applying a thin wash of resin (called a sealant) to the back teeth, where most chewing is done. This protective coating keeps bacteria from settling in the hard-to-reach crevices of the molars. But make sure that kids know that sealants aren't a replacement for good brushing and regular flossing.

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