More Fruits and Vegetables for More Healthy Smiles

by MikeMeehan 9/6/2017 10:01 AM

September is another month to focus on the importance of including more fruits and vegetables into our diet, and we’re on board with that. Consuming fruits and vegetables will help your overall health and your oral health, so that means healthy smiles. And healthy smiles are what we like to see. We all need more fruits and veggies in our life, and we’ve got a good resource to help you with that. The Fruits & Vegetables–More Matters health initiative has a mission to help Americans increase the amount of fruits and vegetables they consume. The nutrients in fruits and vegetables will do wonders for your health, and we’d like to talk about a few that are especially good for your oral health. In the summer, we recommended the seasonal picks of strawberries, apples and watermelons, so we’ve got them covered. Now here’s a few more fruits and vegetables to add to your menu and how they help your teeth and gums: Celery – A good source for vitamins A and C. Added bonus of celery – it works as a natural toothbrush! When you bite down on celery, its texture scrubs the surface of your teeth, brushing away food particles and plaque. Leafy greens – Spinach, kale and other leafy greens contain calcium, important for healthy bones and teeth. Calcium helps strengthen your enamel and jawbone. Carrots – They are so crunchy, they will increase saliva production and reduce the risk of cavities. Also, carrots have Vitamin A. This vitamin keeps the mucous membranes in your mouth healthy. Spinach and mangoes are other good sources of vitamin A. Citrus – Vitamin C strengthens gums and can protect against gingivitis. It can also reduce inflammation and fight infections, like gum disease. Citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits are packed with this nutrient. Some citrus and other fruits have high acidic content which is bad for your enamel. It’s recommended to eat cheese with your fruit because it can neutralize the acid. Rinsing with water after eating acidic foods will also help. Cantaloupe – If you don’t like the acid in citrus fruits, cantaloupe is a great choice for vitamin C. Also, peppers, blackberries and broccoli have this multifunctional vitamin. Sweet potatoes – They’ve got vitamin C and vitamin E. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant and fights inflammation. When you eat raw vegetables and fruits, it requires more saliva to break down the food. Saliva keeps the bacteria in your mouth, which can cause cavities, under control. If you eat some raw veggies after a meal, the activated extra saliva can also wash away any remaining food particles and help prevent cavities. Smile, for many reasons Whether you eat them raw or cooked, dried or canned, consuming more fruits and vegetables will make you smile for many reasons. You’ll have more energy, a stronger immune system and healthy teeth and gums. With the many options listed above, find opportunities to include these healthy choices into your routine meals.

Final Back-to-School Reminders

by MikeMeehan 8/28/2017 9:46 AM

We talked about tooth care tips for the kids as they head back to school, we recommended some good books to encourage healthy dental habits, and now that the kids are officially back in school or maybe only days away, we’ve got a few more tips to share. Eye exams are often skipped A new survey found that over 50% of parents in the U.S. don’t take their kids for a comprehensive eye exam before going back to school. In the same survey, the majority of respondents agreed that eye exams are important for their kids. So what is preventing parents from taking their kids to the eye doctor? Some might think that vision screenings, sometimes offered at school, are adequate. Vision screenings and comprehensive eye exams are different and screenings can miss the majority of vision problems. When to take your child for an eye exam There can be warning signs your child has a vision problem, but even without symptoms or if your child has a low risk of vision problems, the American Optometric Association recommends children receive an eye exam at 6 months of age, 3 years of age, 5 years of age (before first grade), and then every two years or as suggested by your doctor. If your child is at risk, the frequency changes to every year or as recommended. Look for a list of factors that place a child at risk for vision impairment here. Vision problems can affect learning Sometimes with kids, vision problems can be misdiagnosed or undetected. There is a link between vision and learning, so making sure they can read the blackboard, their books and their laptops is important. About 80% of learning is through a child’s vision and 60% of students who are labeled as problem learners have an undiagnosed vision problem. As the numbers illustrate, adding eye exams on your priority list will benefit your child and their learning. Back-to-school gear for athletes Back to school also means school sports. And when we think of sports, we think of mouth and eye protection. Did you have protective eye gear and mouth guards on the back-to-school list? Mouthguards can provide ample protection from sports-related injuries to the teeth, mouth, jaws and surrounding areas. They help to prevent any kind of dislocation of jaw joints and protect the teeth from being knocked out. Read more to determine what kind of mouth guard fits your kid’s sport or activity. According to an article on AllAboutVision.com, the amount of sports-related eye injuries reported in emergency rooms are over 40,000 every year. But most of these injuries are preventable with protective eyewear. With sports, we may think of flying objects as the hazard, but eye injuries can be a result of an elbow or finger in a close contact sport. Suit up the kids with all their sports gear and include mouth guards and protective eye wear. Did you get their eyes checked? You take your children to the doctor and dentist, now add your vision provider to that list. Back to school can be a busy time with all the preparation and anticipation. But whether this time of year is best for your family, or any other time during the year, make their vision health a part of your schedule. Protect your active kid with mouth guards and eye shields. And we wish you all a happy back-to-school season!

Tips for The Eclipse… Here’s How to Protect Your Eyes

by MikeMeehan 8/16/2017 9:59 AM

After much anticipation, the solar eclipse is just days away! We want you and your family to enjoy this special event while also being safe and protecting your eyes. There is a lot of information out there about the eclipse, viewing the eclipse and other related information. As your vision benefits provider, we’re going to focus on a few solar eclipse facts and tips to make sure you keep your eyes protected. Some of us are lucky to be in the direct path for total eclipse viewing. This is also called the path of totality. Depending on your location, your viewing instructions differ. See more information below. Facts about viewing a solar eclipse Total eclipse – If you’re in the path of totality, you will be able to see a total eclipse, when the moon completely blocks the sun, for about two to three minutes. Eclipse blindness – Looking at the solar eclipse without eye protection can cause retinal burns, also called solar retinopathy or “eclipse blindness.” Damage – If you expose your eyes to the sun without protection, it can cause permanent or temporary damage to the cells in your retina. Be aware it could take hours or days to realize you damaged your eyes. Eye symptoms – Other symptoms you can experience if you view the eclipse without eye protection are distorted vision and altered color vision. Contact your eye care professional if you notice any of these symptoms. Tips for viewing a solar eclipse The American Astronomical Society listed useful instructions for viewing the eclipse. Here’s a summary: Inspect – Check the condition of your solar filter; it should be free from any scratches and punctures. If there is any damage, don’t use it. Follow instructions – Read and follow the instructions on your solar filter or on the package. Supervise – Always supervise children using solar filters, whether using eclipse glasses or handheld solar viewers. Eyeglasses – If you wear eyeglasses, keep them on and put the eclipse glasses over them or use a handheld viewer in front of them. Don’t remove filter or glasses – Before looking up at the sun, stand still and cover your eyes with eclipse glasses or a solar filter. After viewing, look away from the sun and then remove your glasses or filter. Don’t remove your eclipse glasses or solar filter while looking up at the sun. In other words, be mindful and cautious. In path – If you’re lucky and can view the eclipse in the path of totality, remove your solar filter only when the moon is covering the sun completely. You’ll be able to see a total solar eclipse for a short time, but as soon as the sun starts to reappear, make sure to use your eclipse glasses or solar filter for the rest of the time. It’s not safe to look at the sun without eye protection. Outside of path – If you’re viewing outside the path of totality, use your safe solar filter during the entire event. No cameras – It’s recommended to get expert advice if you want to use a camera or telescope during the solar eclipse. Do not look at the sun through a camera, telescope or other devices even while wearing eclipse glasses or using a solar filter. Looking towards the sun or at the solar eclipse without eye protection can cause permanent damage to your vision. We want you to experience this exciting and unique event, but please be safe and protect your eyes. For any medical questions concerning your eyes and vision, please contact your eye doctor. For more information and additional resources: https://eclipse.aas.org/eye-safety/safe-viewing https://www.aao.org/eye-health/tips-prevention/solar-eclipse-eye-safety http://www.visionmonday.com/latest-news/article/experts-give-safety-tips-on-proper-way-to-view-aug-21-solar-eclipse-1-1/  

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