Children's Dental Health Month

In February, the American Dental Association (ADA) sponsors National Children’s Dental Health Month.  Throughout this month, the ADA emphasizes the importance of developing good habits at an early age.  The organization aims to promote and spread the awareness of the benefits in maintaining good oral health.

Good habits can include scheduling regular visits, forming good brushing routines, and getting a good start at an early age on striving for healthy teeth and gums.  The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) remind us that a nutritional regimen, like adding calcium to a diet, is also an essential part of healthy teeth and bones.  Healthy Children recommends that parents also work with their pediatrician to establish good oral health, as a healthy mouth is an important piece of a child’s wellness.

Tooth decay is one of the most common chronic diseases in children, as stated by the CDC.  Untreated, the pain and infections from tooth decay may later lead to problems with eating, speaking, playing and learning. 

Therapists at PTP can help a children improve these skills that may have been comprised from tooth decay. Therapy not only accelerates development, but it can also compliment or create healthy habits. Occupational therapists work to improve a child’s physical development, social and emotional development, cognition, and fine motor skills.  They assist the child in all undertakings of daily living.  Occupational therapists can help the child with brushing and oral care routines.  Therapists then work with the families to help carry out these habits at home so the child progresses towards completing the task on their own.

Alyssa, an occupational therapist at PTP, explains, “Occupational therapy can work on decreasing oral defensiveness to help kids tolerate the toothbrush and toothpaste in their mouths to increase their self-care skills and independence.”

Each year, health care providers and other professionals continually work together to promote the importance of good oral health to children and families.

American Dental Association (ADA):

American Heart Month

Do you have hearts on the mind as Valentine’s Day approaches?
What about your own heart?
If you ever wonder why the doctor’s office inquires our family history, it’s important to ask those questions like what health conditions and diseases we may find within our family tree.  During American Heart Month, let’s take a closer look at our hearts.
According to the American Heart Association, having a blood relative with health conditions like heart disease can increase our own risk; however, making lifestyle choices can help decrease chances of having some health conditions. As a family, you can take preventative measures to ensure health habits become a lifelong goal.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S.  Monitoring blood pressure and cholesterol levels are good measures to take in preventing heart disease, whether it’s at a doctor’s office or at home.
The CDC also helps remind us to not become overwhelmed while taking steps towards health; don’t go the journey alone when changing our habits, don’t get discouraged, and reward ourselves.
Kids Health has great tips on how to “keep your heart happy.” Healthy habits such as being active every day can be as simple as jumping rope, dancing, or playing a game with friends. We have to remember that our heart is just as vital as any other muscle in our body.  A good diet includes paying attention to both healthy and unhealthy foods. Eating a variety of healthy foods, like the appropriate servings of fruits and vegetables, are just as important as avoiding unhealthy items like foods high in fats or sodium or drinks high in sugar. Learn to compare labels on processed foods and don’t be afraid to explore the produce aisle.
Another aspect of heart health is established at birth. About 40,000 infants are born with heart defects each year.  The CDC states that congenital heart defects are present at birth and affect how a baby’s heart is made and how it works.  Although the cause of most is unknown, actions during pregnancy may reduce the risk of having a baby with heart defects.
To help a child reach full function and highest level of independence, therapist at Pediatric Therapy Partners will help improve motor skills, muscular strength, and overall endurance following heart procedures.  Therapy can assist in healing and increase performance during play and activities of daily living.
If preventative tips and behaviors are learned at a young age, families can help their kids continue to take steps throughout childhood towards a heart healthy lifestyle.

American Heart Association: