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Health Q&A

Posted December 05, 2012 in Advice Column, Perry

Q: How should I help with brushing my child’s teeth?

A: Proper dental care begins before a baby’s first tooth appears. Running a damp washcloth over a baby’s gums daily will help clear away harmful bacteria. Once teeth start to erupt, parents can brush kids’ teeth with an infant toothbrush, using water or just a smear of toothpaste. We recommend “training” toothpaste without fluoride until the child has learned to spit out the toothpaste. Age 2 is a good time to start using a pea-sized amount of kid’s toothpaste with fluoride. However, kids still do not have the dexterity or knowledge to brush all of their teeth. Therefore it is important for parents to assist their child with brushing until around age 5 or 6, while also letting the child take turns so that they can begin learning the proper way to brush.

The concept of flossing is the same for baby teeth. Many times baby teeth have spaces between them, so flossing in those areas are not as critical. But between 2 and 3 years, children will get their second baby molars that are usually a tight contact. The most common areas for cavities are between the two baby molars that are typically not lost until age 11 to 13. So it is important to take good care of your child’s teeth at a young age, which includes flossing, especially between the molars. You can also find floss holders for kids that make the task much easier, and it only takes a few seconds every day.

Information provided by Dr. Rob Swanson, DDS, Swanson Dental Care, 2423 Willis Ave., Perry, 465-5170.

Q: How can I make good medical decisions?

A: When you experience pain or illness, you may think surgery is the only treatment option. But, is surgery really the best option?

When you visit your family doctor for your symptoms, ask for more information on your subject. Many offices carry a variety of printed material to help you better understand your medical problem. Take some time to review the materials and educate yourself about the options available to you.

Shared Medical Decision Making is one program offered by some clinics to help educate patients about medical issues. Written materials and DVDs are available for patients. Some of the topics featured in the materials include knee pain, chronic back pain, menopause, diabetes, hypertension and more.

Offices that offer Shared Medical Decision Making will have a health coach or nurse sit down with you for a quick review of your subject. You will then take the information home and review it on your own time. After that, a follow-up meeting with the health coach or nurse is made (these meetings are usually free) and then a meeting with your health care provider is set up.

There are many benefits in educating yourself about the options available to you. Many times, several options exist. Don’t hesitate to ask for more information the next time you visit your health care provider.

Information provided by Mercy Family Care – Perry, 616 10th St, 465-2575.

Q: What are some popular excercise myths?

A: Exercise will give me more energy. This is actually a fact, but most of the time there is an adjustment period for the new level of activity. When first starting an exercise program you may feel more tired, which causes many people to wonder why they are exercising. Over time, however, your body will adjust and you will actually start to feel better and have more energy on a regular basis.

• No pain, no gain. One common misconception is that you have to experience pain during your workouts in order to have any significant health improvements. Exercising at that level of intensity can often cause injury. Feeling discomfort during an exercise session (if done safely) is OK. It is also normal to experience some muscle soreness for two to three days after a new or intense workout. But that does not mean there should be pain during a workout.

• You can get “six-pack abs” through crunches. Many people will do hundreds of crunches in an effort to get nice abs, but the truth is, all crunches give you is stronger abs. Stronger muscles are not a bad thing, but that’s not usually the goal for most people. Working a specific area of the body will improve the tone of those muscles, but will not specifically burn the fat over that area. If you want nice looking abs (which are not necessarily functional), you need to get rid of the fat that covers them by burning calories through general exercise.

Information provided by 21st Century Rehab at Dallas County Hospital, 610 10th St., Perry, 465-7672.

Q: What does the inside of my nose reveal?

A: Health care providers will look inside your nose as part of a routine healthy full physical exam. They will also look inside your nose when they suspect other problems, such as an infection or allergy. Sometimes they’re looking for other sources of your breathing problem, such as a deviated septum, which is a shifting of the wall that divides the nasal cavity into halves.

One of the first things he or she will notice is color. The color of your nasal membranes should be pink, the same color as healthy gums. If your nasal membranes are bluish or pale and appear swollen, the doctor may suspect you have allergic rhinitis, an inflammation caused by a nasal allergy. If this is the case, you might have a clear-to-white nasal discharge, and he or she might prescribe antihistamines or a nasal steroid to reduce the swelling.

If your nasal membranes are more red than pale and the discharge is thick and yellow, the doctor will suspect an infection. If your infection involves the nose, throat and ears and you have no fever or only a slight one, the doctor will suspect a cold virus.

If you have a fever, with tenderness around the bridge of your nose and at the top of your cheeks, the health care provider will suspect a bacterial infection that has invaded your sinuses. See your pharmacist or physician for correct treatment of your symptoms.

Information provided by Medicap Pharmacy,

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