From the FMS Global News Desk of Jeanne Hambleton   Embargo expired: 11-Aug-2014
Source Newsroom:
University of Alabama at Birmingham


Newswise — BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Parents play the key role in helping their children to develop a proper oral hygiene routine, says University of Alabama at Birmingham pediatric dentist Stephen Mitchell, DMD, and the beginning of the school year is always a great time to begin or reinforce correct oral care techniques.

“This is the time of year when many parents and children begin daily routines, and it is a good time for children to get into the habit of brushing their teeth in the morning and at night before they go to bed if they do not do so already,” said Mitchell, director of Predoctoral Pediatric Dentistry in UAB’s School of Dentistry.

“Help your kids develop the habit of doing their best brushing of the day just before bed so they sleep with clean mouths. Parents really should actively lead and supervise their children’s tooth brushing for the first 12 years or so of life, until their motor and mental functions allow them to routinely perform a proper tooth brushing technique on their own.”

Sending children back to school also creates oral health challenges, including lunch habits, protecting children who play sports and how often to floss.

Mitchell says parents should take charge in each of these areas.

Lunch habits: “Chocolate milk and fruit juices sound and maybe even taste great, but look at how many calories are packed into the bottle,” Mitchell said. “Consider flavored waters and 2 percent or skim milk instead.”

Sports: Football is not the only sport in which children should wear mouth guards. “Soccer, karate, basketball and lacrosse also are high-impact sports,” Mitchell said. “Don’t forget to protect kids playing these sports too.”

When to brush and floss: Mitchell says, if your children are brushing well before school and before bed, do not feel pressured to make them take a brush to school for after lunch. “Three brushings a day helps with fresh breath, but does not do more for tooth health than two good brushings,” Mitchell said. “The only exception would be if your child has braces. Children with braces that tend to collect food may want to have that third brushing.” Mitchell says one good flossing per day should be plenty. “If your child’s teeth do not touch a neighboring tooth, the toothbrush will clean them very well; but if they touch their neighbor, you will need to floss,” he said. “At night before bed is generally best.”

Mitchell says teachers and administrators also have an opportunity to reinforce positive oral health habits by teaching good nutrition.

Healthy eating that avoids high-processed sugars benefits teeth and the whole body.

“Schools with access to gardens that can teach how to raise fresh fruits and vegetables will help children learn how to feed themselves without relying on those cheap processed foods,” Mitchell said. “Add in a little about brushing and flossing if there is time, but focus more on total nutrition.”

Mitchell also says a teacher who identifies a child with tooth decay or other oral deficiencies should encourage the family to get help; it will very likely improve the child’s classroom learning and benefit his or her health.

“Studies clearly show that children with active dental pain do not learn well in the classroom,” Mitchell said. “And, honestly, who could focus and pay attention with a throbbing tooth?”

About UAB
Known for its innovative and interdisciplinary approach to education at both the graduate and undergraduate levels, UAB is an internationally renowned research university and academic medical center and the state of Alabama’s largest employer, with some 23,000 employees and an economic impact exceeding $5 billion annually on the state. The five pillars of UAB’s mission deliver knowledge that will change your world: the education of students, who are exposed to multidisciplinary learning and a new world of diversity; research, the creation of new knowledge; patient care, the outcome of ‘bench-to-bedside’ translational knowledge; service to the community at home and around the globe, from free clinics in local neighbourhoods to the transformational experience of the arts; and the economic development of Birmingham and Alabama.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham is a separate, independent institution from the University of Alabama, which is located in Tuscaloosa.




From the FMS Global News Desk of Jeanne Hambleton Posted on August 8, 2014                  By Stone Hearth News Eureka Alert   University College London


Advice on how we should brush our teeth from dental associations and toothpaste companies is ‘unacceptably inconsistent’, finds new UCL (University College London) research.

The study, published in the British Dental Journal, looked at the brushing advice given by dental associations across ten countries, toothpaste and toothbrush companies and in dental textbooks. They found a wide range of recommendations on what brushing method to use, how often to brush and for how long.

The researchers found no clear consensus between the various sources, and a ‘worrying’ lack of agreement between advice from dental associations compared with dental textbooks.

“The public needs to have sound information on the best method to brush their teeth,” says Aubrey Sheiham, Emeritus Professor of Dental Public Health (UCL Epidemiology & Public Health), senior author of the study.

“If people hear one thing from a dental association, another from a toothbrush company and something else from their dentist, no wonder they are confused about how to brush. In this study we found an unacceptably inconsistent array of advice from different sources.

“Dental associations need to be consistent about what method to recommend, based on how effective the method is. Most worryingly, the methods recommended by dental associations are not the same as the best ones mentioned in dental textbooks. There is no evidence to suggest that complicated techniques are any better than a simple gentle scrub.”

The most commonly-recommended technique involves gently jiggling the brush back and forth in small motions, with the intention of shaking loose any food particles, plaque and bacteria. However, no large-scale studies have ever shown this method to be any more effective than basic scrubbing.

“Brush gently with a simple horizontal scrubbing motion, with the brush at a forty-five degree angle to get to the dental plaque,” Professor Sheiham advises. “To avoid brushing too hard, hold the brush with a pencil grip rather than a fist. This simple method is perfectly effective at keeping your gums healthy.

“There is little point in brushing after eating sweets or sugary drinks to prevent tooth decay. It takes bacteria from food about two minutes to start producing acid, so if you brush your teeth a few minutes after eating sugary foods, the acid will have damaged the enamel.”

The conflicting messages given by different organisations highlight the need for research into how effective different brushing methods are. At present, the expert advice in the guidelines, ‘The scientific basis of dental health education’, recommend a simple scrubbing technique as it is easy to learn and there is no evidence to justify a more complicated method.

“The wide range of recommendations we found is likely due to the lack of strong evidence suggesting that one method is conclusively better than another,” says lead author Dr John Wainwright, who carried out the study at UCL and is now a practising dentist. “I advise my patients to focus their brushing on areas where plaque is most likely to collect – the biting surfaces and where the teeth and gums meet – and to use a gentle scrubbing motion. All too frequently I am asked why the method I am describing differs from how previous dentists have taught them in the past.

“What I feel we need is better research into what the easiest to learn, most effective and safest way to brush is. The current situation where not just individual dentists, but different dental organisations worldwide are all issuing different brushing guidelines is not just confusing – it is undermining faith and trust in the profession as a whole. For something most people do twice a day, you would expect dentists to send a clearer, more unified message to their patients on how to brush their teeth.”



From the FMS Global News Desk of Jeanne Hambleton                                                                           U4B News by Tracy Bratton August 6 2014


The bell is about to ring for the first time for the upcoming school year, meaning maladies, ailments and other health nuisances are coming soon.

One of those annoyances comes in the form of head lice — itchy, bothersome, parasitic insects that live solely on the scalp hair of humans and usually on children 10 and younger. As do all insects, head lice develop in stages from egg, or nit, to nymph and finally to louse.

There are many fallacies about lice, says D’Ann Somerall, DNP, an assistant professor and family nurse practitioner specialty track coordinator in the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing. The biggest misconception, Somerall says, is that lice are a problem only for the poor.

“It has nothing to do with how clean or dirty your home or school may be, or how clean or dirty your kids may be,” Somerall said. “Affluent schools, rural schools, urban schools — anyone from any socioeconomic background can get head lice, no matter how clean their hair or home.”

Somerall, a mother of six children, experienced firsthand the issues lice can create in her own home. Her oldest daughter came home from school one day and was violently scratching the back of her head. When Somerall first looked, she believed it was dandruff. A closer inspection revealed that it was actually nits, the eggs lice leave behind.

“My daughter has really thick hair, and when we pulled it up and looked, she had probably thousands of nits in her hair,” Somerall said. “Of course I was mortified at first. I had no idea she had them. But it is not something parents should panic about. You can take care of it. It is tedious because treatment can play out over the course of days and weeks, but it can be done. The main thing is to recognize, identify and treat as soon as possible.”

The first sign that lice may be an issue is bad itching on the nape of the neck and behind the ears. Children with long, thick hair also are more prone to acquire lice. The bugs are more difficult to see than the nits, which can be white or dark. If they are dark, it means the louse is inside of the egg. If nits are white, it means the louse has hatched.

Because the nits are bloodsuckers, they are typically found one-quarter of an inch from the skin. The louse itself is hard to find in part because of its size and because it travels quickly, moving up to nine inches in one minute.

Somerall says all infested persons and their bedmates should be treated at the same time. Rid and Nix are popular over-the-counter medications used to treat lice; but if crawling lice are still seen after a full-course treatment, it is recommended that you contact your health care provider. Parents with children age 2 and younger should call their pediatrician before using any over-the-counter treatment for lice.

Home remedies to treat lice, including the use of mayonnaise, vinegar or petroleum jelly in the hair and covering with a shower cap for several hours or days, do not work, according to the Centers for Disease Control. However, Somerall says one of the home remedies did work for her daughter.

“It was a moment of desperation, really, because we used over-the-counter products to treat, and we thought they were all gone until a hairdresser found them again while my daughter was getting her hair cut,” Somerall said. “We covered her head in Vaseline and put a shower cap on for eight hours, and it did get rid of them.”

Somerall also says to use a lice comb on your child’s hair as directed, including after you get rid of the lice.

“It’s best to use a metal comb instead of a plastic one,” Somerall said. “Remember that lice infestation can be an ongoing battle, especially in group settings. There is no doubt that they can be hard bugs to get rid of, so being persistent and following the directions of the medications used to treat your child’s hair is key.”

If you suspect your child does have lice, Somerall says you should check with the school nurse or child care center director to see if other kids have recently been treated for lice. If you discover that your child does have lice or nits, contact the staff at the school or child care center to let them know and to find out what their return policy is.

More information on the treatment of lice is available at

See you soon Jeanne












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