Review Category : Contributors

Understanding pregnancy and your dental health

By Jennifer Wallace, DMD

Congrats on the soon-to-be new addition to your family. There will be a lot of changes to plan for in the next few months. Let’s see, there’s a name to pick, a nursery to get ready, diapers/blankets/clothes to buy — but don’t forget to also plan to take care of Momma during exciting this time.

The old wives tale that warns a woman to expect a lost tooth for every baby is false. If the mother’s intake of calcium is inadequate during pregnancy, her bones — not her teeth — will provide the calcium her growing baby needs. This calcium loss is quickly made up after breastfeeding stops. However, the demands of pregnancy can lead to particular dental problems in some women.

Ben Franklin said “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” and that certainly applies to this subject. You are less likely to have dental problems during pregnancy if you already have good oral hygiene habits like flossing, brushing with fluoridated toothpastes, eating a healthy non-sugary diet and visiting your dentist regularly. Pregnancy can lead to dental problems in some women, including gum disease and increased risk of tooth decay from cravings of sugary foods, vomiting from morning sickness and gagging when brushing.

During pregnancy, your increased hormones can affect your body’s response to plaque (the layer of germs on your teeth). During pregnancy, about half of all women (60 to 70 percent) experience a condition called pregnancy gingivitis. Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums that is caused when plaque accumulates in the spaces between the gums and the teeth. The accumulation of bacteria can lead to the loss of bone around the teeth and can eventually lead to tooth decay and tooth loss. Pregnancy Gingivitis is caused by an increase in hormone levels, which can exaggerate a woman’s response to dental plaque in the mouth. This extra plaque may cause swelling, bleeding, redness and/or tenderness in the gums. Changes in the gums are most noticeable from the second month of pregnancy, reaching a maximum in the eighth month.

In women with severe morning sickness, frequent vomiting can erode the enamel on the back of the front teeth. If you are vomiting frequently, contact your dental office for information on how to prevent enamel erosion. It is important not to brush right away after you vomit, since the stomach acid in your mouth will only help erode the teeth as you brush. Wait about an hour before brushing your teeth after vomiting. While the teeth are covered in stomach acids, the vigorous action of the toothbrush may scratch the tooth enamel. DO rinse right away with water, or a fluoridated mouth wash.

Research has found a link between gum disease in pregnant women and premature birth with low birth weight. Babies who are born prematurely may risk a range of health conditions including cerebral palsy and problems with eyesight and hearing. Estimates suggest that about 18 out of every 100 premature births may be triggered by periodontal disease, which is a chronic infection of the gums. Appropriate dental treatment for the expectant mother can reduce the risk of premature birth by more than 80 percent, according to one study.

Another old wives tale is that an expectant mother shouldn’t visit the dentist until after birth. Of course, the best approach to dental care is to see your dentist before you get pregnant for an exam and cleaning. During your pregnancy, the second trimester is the best time to receive routine dental care. During the last trimester, it may become uncomfortable for you and baby to sit or lay for longer dental appointments.

Pregnancy does not automatically damage your teeth. With proper hygiene at home and professional help from your dentist, your teeth should remain healthy throughout pregnancy. So be sure to share the good news with your dentist ASAP to prevent and prepare for a happy, healthy momma and baby.

Jennifer Wallace, DMD, practices on Lady’s Island at Palmetto Smiles of Beaufort, 843-524-7645.

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Eating green

By Tracie Korol

Dogs are remarkably flexible in their tastes. They’ll polish off a bowl of dried dog food, then walk over to see if there’s anything tasty in the trash. If they’re still hungry, they’ll head to the laundry room to see what’s in the cat box. Basically, they’ll eat, or at least sample, whatever they find.

There’s a good reason for their liberal tastes. Unlike cats, that evolved solely as hunters, dogs survived by scavenging. When they couldn’t catch live prey, they’d eat the ancient equivalent of road kill. They didn’t care too much if had been lying in the sun for a week or was moldering under old leaves. It was food, and they weren’t going to pass it up. When meat wasn’t on the menu, they’d rummage around for tender leafy stalks, berries, grasses, fruits, flower blossoms, seeds and even a few roots, They simply weren’t fussy, and dogs today haven’t gotten any fussier. They’re predisposed to eat just about everything.

In addition, there’s some evidence that dogs get cravings for certain foods. It’s possible that dogs occasionally get a hankering for greens, just as people sometimes go to bed dreaming about Mom’s fried chicken. It’s not as strange as it may sound. There is also a theory that dogs may not always be seeking food, but are intuitively seeking medicine. Each spring, Moses, my Bassett hound friend, would pull himself along the ground, upside down underneath the pea-vine supports, and pluck the first tiny pea pods right off the vine.  He had equally arcane methods for harvesting the first asparagus shoots, parsley, blueberries, mint, garlic and baby carrots. Moses ate a fairly clean diet but would occasionally need to visit the garden.

For example, in early spring, dogs like Moses, may be attracted to the first shoots of common quack grass (Elytrigia repens). Each blade of this “dog grass” contains silicon for strong joints and connective tissues, essential fatty acids for clear skin and shiny coat, enzymes for digestion, chlorophyll for antioxidant support and soap-like saponin constituents that combine with the stringy fibers to help cleanse the digestive tract and keep parasites at bay. After a season of low grade kibble, a dog may feel his system needs a boost.

Likewise, dogs will occasionally chew on berries, bark, pods, seeds or leaves that contain healing properties. The red or purple fruits of raspberry, rose bushes and hawthorn all contain flavonoid constituents that are good for the cardiovascular system.

The oils contained in the raw seeds of flax, currants, wheat, pumpkins and squash may be relished for an extra measure of essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals that are needed for skin and coat health.  Pumpkin seeds are also a natural and gentle vermifuge — expels intestinal parasites.

Even certain kinds of algae (“pond scum”) contain a cornucopia of nutrients and disease-fighting chemicals that wild dogs may seek in time of need. But how do we provide these things for our “suburban wolves”?  When do they need these things and in what amount?

By serving a daily helping of nutritive herbs and “green food” at mealtime your dog will be provided added measure of nutritional or systemic support. Good “greens” are flaxseed, spirulina, garlic, dandelion root, kelp, alfalfa and nettle.

Before you “go for the green” on behalf of your Best Friend and head to the store for supplements, it is important to realize that green food supplements only serve to round out a good diet. They cannot be expected to replace nutritional elements that are missing from poor quality, bargain basement, supermarket kibble.

But, if you’re a do-it-yourself type and are conscientious about what goes into your dog, adding a commercial green supplement or a combo-mix of the beneficial herbs or even providing your Best Friend with his own tray of barley or wheat grass can only increase his energy, shine up his coat, float some anti-cancer antioxidants in his system, reduce the pain and swelling of arthritis and tidy up his digestion.

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Enjoying an impromptu candlelight dinner

By Lee Scott

Last night, my husband and I enjoyed a candlelight dinner. He cooked hamburgers and corn on the grill. I marinated tomatoes and cucumbers we had picked up from our local produce stand. We ate at our dinner table with multiple candles shimmering in the darkness. It was so romantic.

You guessed it: Our electric was out.

With the temperature at 88 degrees and the heat index at 105 degrees, we  anticipated some kind of rainfall. Of course, associated with bad storms, there are the occasional power outages. The clouds across the creek from us started to mushroom around noon and they grew darker as the day went on. The thunder and lightening in the distance sent the dogs under the bed. Then it got closer. There was a piercing lightening followed by a particularly loud clap of thunder. That did it: The house grew dark.

It’s amazing how quiet the house is when the electric is out — no air conditioning, no refrigerator whirring in the background, no television blaring. The only sound was the ticking of the battery operated clock and the sound of matches as we lit candles.

We still had our iPads and cell phones so we could check out the weather radar and contact SCE&G about the outage. But, in the meantime, we sat in our under-utilized living room with candles and hurricane lanterns and just chatted.

We had a few hours of peace and quiet before the noise returned. Ceiling fans started to turn, the air conditioning kicked on and the television came alive. We were back to normal once again.

Too bad it took a thunderstorm for us to have a romantic dinner.

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The Baby Diaries: Celebrating one year with joy, disbelief

By Pamela Brownstein

I don’t know if there’s a scientific phenomenon that causes the earth to spin faster and the hours and days to go by so quickly, or it’s just a symptom of getting older, either way, I feel like the past year has flown by.

This time last year I was sitting in my hospital bed at Beaufort Memorial holding a one-day old baby girl in my arms, grateful for her beauty and perfection, and even more grateful to be done with the nine months of pregnancy.

Although I remember details about that day with surprising clarity, I feel like I can’t remember specifics about the entire year that followed. Seriously, I can’t believe my baby just turned 1. She always looked so little compared to her big 2-year-old brother, but now she’s so close to walking, she’s right there with him defending her territory, taking his toys, trying to eat his food off the plate, and looking up at her parents with her big bright eyes and adorable smile filled with four teeth.

My sweet Selah has gone from an easy-going infant to a spunky chick seemingly overnight. I would describe her as a pistol, a character, energetic, silly and so smart. She has so many looks and expressions, you can just see the wheels turning inside her fuzz-covered head.

When she doesn’t get what she wants and throws herself on the floor dramatically, it’s hard not to laugh. But then I see the future and know that we’re totally in for it because I also see the past and know that I used to do the same thing. My husband’s favorite phrase when she’s acting naughty or sly is “she comes by it honestly; she’s just like her mom.”

I can’t slow down time or reverse it, so I am trying to enjoy my amazing girl as she is now. I wish her all the happiness that can fill one’s heart with joy and wonder, just as she has filled my heart with love that grows deeper each day.

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Beating the bugs, naturally

By Tracie Korol

As summer settles in and the rains come every afternoon, the biting-sucking insects seem to become more prevalent, fierce and relentless. I have never been a fan of industrial, aerosol neurotoxins for me or for my dog friends. They smell funky, taste terrible if you happen to inhale while spraying, and the warning labels give me the willies.

Instead, I mix up my own essential oil spray, the main ingredient being Neem.

Neem is all-natural, nontoxic ammunition that stops molesting mosquitoes and ticks in their tracks. It’s the single most important thing you can keep on hand all summer, for your dog’s well-being and your own.

Neem, botanical name Azadirachta indica, is a slow-growing evergreen tree in the mahogany family that has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for 5,000 years. Neem is native to southern India and northern Myanmar and is cultivated worldwide. The Sanskrit word for neem is nimba, meaning good health.

Ancient Sanskrit writings mention neem as veterinary treatment to be administered in feed or applied as liniments, oils, powders or liquids, using all parts of the plant.

Western medicine and technology ignored neem until 1928, when two Indian scientists published a report of neem used as a pesticide during a locust infestation. That same year, colonial administrators introduced the neem tree to Nigeria from Ghana, where neem was planted beginning in 1917. Neem was planted in Sudan for wood, firewood, shade and oil for lamps in 1916. By the 1960s, neem plantations were thriving in Africa and neem pesticides were studied for Western agriculture. In 1992, W.R. Grace, a chemical corporation based in Florida, was granted a U.S. patent for Neemix, a neem-based pesticide stabilized by a proprietary process.

So, it’s legit. You can find neem, in it’s pure form — which is what you want for you and your dog — in those upscale grocery emporiums and locally at Terra Cotta. Through the summer months, I keep a spray bottle of my neem-based concoction on the kitchen windowsill to arm my dog friends and myself against the mosquito menace.  (My current bug juice recipe includes neem, citronella, lemon-eucalyptus and a dash of peppermint in a neutral carrier oil.) Neem is a biopesticide applied topically, it repels mosquitoes (and fleas, too), it also kills them — naturally. It has absolutely no harmful side effects. To protect my dog friends, I dab spots on top of their heads, behind their ears, on their shoulders and flanks, and on their tails. During mosquito season, I do this every two to three days. I also suggest to their owners one capsule of neem “supercritical extract” supplement, mixed with their food twice weekly, to arm them from the inside out. I take the capsules, too and also spray on exposed skin, on each wrist, behind my knees, and on my knee pits (a popular mosquito target) when I go for walks.

Now, if you are in the company of folks who prefer their dogs to smell like hyacinths or “spring rain” or any other synthetic, artificial smell, then neem’s aroma may be a bit of a challenge. To me, it smells like mild roasted garlic, not at all offensive in light of its efficacy at bug management. It’s aroma can be mitigated with other, lighter, equally insect-repelling essential oils — rose geranium, peppermint, citronella, eucalyptus, palmarosa.  You can mix up your own personal blend.  A good double-whammy mixer, Opopanax myrrh, the myrrh of ancient Egypt (also available at Terra Cotta) has been shown to repel adults of the African brown ear, deer tick, black-footed, lone star and the good old American dog tick.

If you have a green thumb, know that neem is also prized by horticulturists for its efficacy at keeping pests away from prized plantings, so there’s no need to use poison in the garden, either!

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The benefits of exercise and alcohol

By Dr. Mark S. Siegel

In 2020, the number of people in the United States with visual impairment – sight loss often caused by eye disease, trauma, or a congenital or degenerative condition that cannot be corrected with glasses or contact lenses – is projected to increase to at least four million. This is a 70 percent increase from 2000 and is due to the growing aging population and prevalence of age-related eye diseases.

To help determine ways to decrease the incidence of visual impairment, researchers at the University of Wisconsin examined the relationships between the incidence of visual impairment and three modifiable lifestyle behaviors: smoking, drinking alcohol and staying physically active. The research was conducted as part of the Beaver Dam Eye Study, a long-term population-based cohort study from 1988 to 2013 of nearly 5,000 adults aged 43 to 84 years.

The researchers found that regular physical activity and an alcoholic beverage every now and then is associated with a lower risk of visual impairment. The data showed that over 20 years, visual impairment developed in 5.4 percent of the population and varied based on lifestyle behaviors. For example, people who were physically active had a 58 percent decrease in the odds of developing visual impairment compared to people who were not physically active.

The researchers also found that people who drank alcohol occasionally (defined as those who have consumed alcohol in the past year, but reported fewer than one serving in an average week) had a 49 percent decrease in the odds of developing visual impairment compared to people who had consumed no alcohol in the past year.

As with most epidemiologic research, the researchers caution that a limitation to their study is that the findings may be due, in part, to unmeasured factors related to both lifestyle behaviors and development of visual impairment. The data does not prove that these lifestyle behaviors are directly responsible for increased risk. The researchers still believe the research shows good promise for indicating ways that people can lessen their risk of visual impairment through lifestyle changes.

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Health Tip of the Week – Never diet again

By Ian Hart

The word diet usually has a negative connotation. Diets also never really work long-term. A diet is usually a short-term fix that is perpetuating an issue of the mind. This issue is that we do not do the right things for our bodies on a regular basis, therefore, we need a quick fix because we’ve gone down the wrong path. A lifestyle change is what is needed to create long-term results. A lifestyle change means that we have changed how we think and how we feel about ourselves in relation to the foods we eat. So, in a nutshell, if you never want to diet again, change your thoughts and feelings about yourself and the food that you eat. It is easier said than done because people can be addicted to certain foods and created bad habits over year and years which is hard to reverse. Try this one simple tip: every time you’re about to eat, ask yourself 2 questions:

- Is this food nourishing to my body?

And

- Will it make me feel good?

Then think about every single bite you put into your mouth and nothing else and focus on chewing the bite at least 20 times. This is called mindful eating and can change the way you think and feel about food and how the body will assimilate it. Your brain is constantly talking to your gut and when mindful eating is initiated, so our your gastric juices which will allow for faster and easier break down of food and therefore more nutrients to be absorbed, leading to a instantly increased health.

Ian Hart is creator of EarthFIT Transformation Systems and co-creator of the Back Pain Relief4Life Formula. Contact him at www.beaufortpersonaltraining.com or 800.718.7FIT.

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What’s that you say?

By Tracie Korol

When Dave, our 30-pound brown dog, first joined the family we had a period of adjustment. Dave’s previous life was on a chain outside a mobile home in Mt. Gilead, Ohio.   While a very nice dog from the outset, he had no experience with things of the human world, what was off limits and what was not.  My glasses were his target.

On the third return trip to the optician with crunched frames, the technician asked if I knew why Dave was eating my glasses.  Um, sport? No… love.   Apparently, opticians see this all the time:  dog adores his person so much he wants to ingest the face oil smelling frames, the lenses just a bonus crunch.  It’s a compliment, a very expensive compliment. The solution?  Keep the glasses where the dog can’t reach.  I felt just a little stupid at the obvious.

Dogs seem to have the same fascination with hearing aids though I can only imagine, to a dog’s nose, the light coating of ear wax is even more enticing than temple sweat.  But it’s hard to appreciate a dog’s adoration when you have to replace that really, really expensive device.  Another reason for that kind of destruction, according to a local audiologist, is that hearing aids, even when turned off, emit a high-pitched whine, the classic “sound only a dog can hear”.  In that case, I can imagine a dog might smash a hearing aid simply to kill the offending noise or, alternately, make a new friend.

An additional concern beyond the cost and annoyance of replacement is the possibility of a vet bill if your Best Friend ate the battery.  While tiny, those batteries can be dangerous if punctured or crushed by little needle teeth and then swallowed.  (Those tiny batteries are also in singing greeting cards, talking books, flash light pens, key chains, novelty jewelry, digital thermometers, watches and cameras, to name a few.)

If you think your pet could have swallowed the battery a trip to the vet for an x-ray might be in order. It’s possible it could have gotten stuck on something on the way through. Certainly, if you see redness or ulcers in dog’s mouth (lips, tongue), discolored teeth (black or grey), frequent swallowing, drooling or painful or distended abdomen, it’s time to see Dr. WhiteCoat.

From a first aid angle, this is a situation where vomiting should not be induced. This could make any corrosive injury worse.  Activated charcoal should not be used, either. It will not bind the toxic components, and may increase the chances of vomiting.

When a battery is swallowed and is in contact with digestive juices, it generates a small electric current, which burns the tissue next to it.    (An experiment showed that a button battery could burn straight through deli meat after only 2 hours.)  If the battery is intact you might be advised to feed the dog something bulky—white bread, for instance—to cover and push the battery through to the end. Of course, you’ll have to examine the results to make sure the battery made it all the way out.   If the battery is damaged or stuck in a loop of tubing, surgery or removal via endoscope might be in order.

As I learned, the hard and expensive way, to put my glasses beyond Dave’s reach, when you take your hearing aids off, put them high up and in a safe place—a designated box with a grinning dog on it would be a good reminder. Most hearing aids come with comprehensive warranties that cover everything, even damage by pets and loss, so your audiologist probably will just smile and get you a new one.

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Health Tip of the Week – The easiest way to lose 5 pounds

By Ian Hart

If you want the simplest and most effective way to lose weight, I have the answer – and I will give it to you in minute – but before I tell you what it is, I think we all know ultimately what needs to be done to lose weight… it’s the actual action steps of losing the weight that is lacking. Many times people need accountability, motivation and a support systems to get them out of the unhealthy pattern so that caused the weight gain.

With that being said, this tip I am about to give you should be one of the easier things to take action on, because it requires very little willpower and takes verylittle effort.

Ok, now that we got that out of the way. The simplest and easiest way to lose 5lbs is to go to bed early. Go to bed at a time when you can ensure that you get a good eight hours or so of sleep for 1 week straight and I can assure you that you will lose weight. But… that’s not all. I want you to shut down your wifi and shut off all your electronic gear and move it far away from where you sleep (at least 10 feet). It is also good to even shut down all your circuit breakers in the house. This will allow you to get a deep rest.

All the extra wifi and electrical activity doesn’t allow your body to get a good night’s sleep. Give it a try, I think you will be surprised by the results.

Ian Hart is creator of EarthFIT Transformation Systems and co-creator of the Back Pain Relief4Life Formula. Contact him at www.beaufortpersonaltraining.com or 800.718.7FIT.

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Five tips for proper skin care

By Takiya Smith

This past Saturday I had the wonderful luxury of receiving a 60 minute facial. Though this was not my first facial it was amongst the first in quite a while. Living here in the South amidst dry lips and skin chapping winters and sticky, humid summers can add a bevy of outbreaks, irregularities and pore clogging factors to our delicate layers of skin. Throw in the gleaming rays of the Sun and the light to not so light and visible mists of pollen and voila you have now achieved complete and total skin disaster. All of which, without proper cleansing, moisturizing and care could lead to even more unwanted effects such as acne, wrinkling and premature aging.  Our skin is the body’s first layer of defense and with a few small tips and changes you can begin and continue to be well on your way to fresh, soft, supple and healthy glowing skin.

Step 1: Determine your skin type. 
Ask any Esthetician and they will tell you that the foundation to any good skin care regimen is knowing your skin type. Its your starting place and ultimate road map to reaching your skin’s proper and healthy destination. There are 5 skin types: Normal, Dry, Oily, Combination and Sensitive. Consulting with a licensed skin care professional can help you pinpoint your skin type and select what products work best for you.

Step 2: Cleanse. 
Start with a fresh palette, free and clear of any makeup, residue, oils or chemicals.

Step 3: Exfoliate
. Meaning to gently rub or slough (scrub) away layers of dirt, build up and unhealthy, dead skin. Exfoliating the can leave the skin looking healthy and vibrant as well as give it a soft and supple feel.

Step 4: Moisturize. 
No matter the skin type, added moisture to the skin is a must. Our bodies are composed of over 50 to 65 percent water and a vital source of element and nutrient to all else. Selecting a good moisturizing agent helps to add and lock in that water thus deterring the effects of dryness leading to chaffing, fine lines and wrinkles.

Step 5: Protect. 
In addition to eradicating excess penetration from the rays of the suns UV effects, a daily SPF (Sun Protection Factor) will block and guard our skin from the damage of sunburn, skin cancer and aging.

For more information regarding skin care and consultation visit my blog at www.blb-boutiques.com or contact me at (843) 263-0426.  Mention this article and receive a 60 minute Cleansing Basic Facial for just $37.50 through August 9!

Takiya La’Shaune Smith is mother, licensed cosmetologist, and local business owner. Find her at www.blb-boutiques.com or on Facebook, email her at Takiya@Takiya-LaShaune.com or call 843-263-0426.

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