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Health Q&A

Posted December 26, 2012 in Advice Column, Boone

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 he or she 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 is 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, 1212 Duff Ave., Ames, 515-233-2174.

Q: How can I be successful with my New Year’s resolution?

A: The New Year is a traditionally a time to set goals with the hope of being successful. Think about goal setting, not just New Year’s resolutions. Get SMART! SMART is an acronym that can be a good guide in achieving anything you want.

If you want to lose weight, it’s important to not focus on the scale but on the behaviors and the process that will make it achievable for you.

Here is an example of using SMART in a walking/exercise program:
 S. Specific behavior goal. Instead of saying you are going to be active, say you are going to walk.
M. Measurable. Walk 15 minutes daily, five times a week.
A. Achievable. I can walk 15 minutes without feeling horrible, but would not be able to run.
R. Realistic/Relevant. Can you see yourself doing this? Are you willing to commit to this?
 T. Track your progress. Chart your walking and maybe reward yourself for goals met.

You can also use this same format to set goals related to eating. So, one SMART goal for activity and one SMART goal for healthy eating, and you are well on your way to dropping and keeping off those extra pounds. Have fun and be SMART.

Information provided by Connie Buss, RD, LD, CDE, Boone County Hospital Diabetes Center, 1015 Union St., Boone, (515) 433-8624,

Q: How do I keep my family healthy during the new year?

A: It’s that time again. Every New Year, millions of Americans create their personal goals, the most popular of which are losing weight and becoming healthier. We want to help you accomplish those goals safely and effectively.

The key to safely losing weight is having a sensible diet and exercise program that you can stick with. If your musculoskeletal system is weak, immobile or unstable, you will be more prone to injury. Many people fail or drop off of new exercise programs due to injury, lack of results or because they are too difficult. Chiropractic care improves the mobility, stability and strength of your core structure to better prepare your body to take on new or advanced exercise protocols, which will help you stick with them.

Cut your calorie consumption by eliminating empty calorie foods such as candy, soda, etc., which do not provide any additional nutrients.  Replace with plenty of fruits and vegetables for essential vitamins and minerals. Reduce saturated fat by eating only lean meats, and add nuts, seeds and fish to get the fats and oils that your body needs.

These winter months also mean cold and flu season. You can combat these illnesses by ensuring that your body is working properly. Getting your spine adjusted removes nerve irritation and increases production of lymphocytes and white blood cells, which boost your immune system’s fighting power. Stop by Boone Family Chiropractic today so we can help you reach your health goals this year.

Information provided by Dr. Chris Tigges of Boone Family Chiropractic, 1320 S. Marshall St., 432-9525.

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