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Archive for August, 2016

Saving Sadie

Posted on: August 30th, 2016 by Angela Ardolino No Comments

Sadie Birthday-001

The day that Sadie Higuera was born, something was wrong.

Although her tiny eyelashes were perfect and she had all ten fingers and ten toes, her body wouldn’t stop jerking and the doctors couldn’t tell her parents, Brian and Damaris, why.

When Sadie was just a few months old, her parents took her from their home in California to the Mayo Clinic where she was diagnosed with Schinzel-Giedion Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder. She had tumors on her neck and liver, as well as epilepsy. She experienced relentless seizures; her first grand mal seizure occurred when she was just 3 months old.

Her tiny, perfect eyelids would remain closed—sometimes for days—as the seizures make it hard to open them. Her face often turned a blue-gray shade.

Before her third birthday, Sadie would experience 300 seizures a day. The neurologist told her parents that they would not be able to help her for a few months, but that it was unlikely she would make it to her next birthday.

Sadie was put on a variety of steroids and other medications, but they caused kidney issues and whole host of new problems.

“They [doctors] basically told us that we needed to give her [stronger medications], that it would definitely end her seizures but that it could end her life in just a few months,” says Sadie’s father, Brian Higuera. “They wouldn’t even give her occupational or physical therapy because they felt she was too far gone.”

Higuera knew that there had to be another option.

“When the medical community tells you need to end your child’s life, to be her hero and end her suffering, it is something no parent should go through. There is another option,” says Higuera. “That is when we decided to go the medical cannabis route.”

Her parents decided to treat little Sadie with Cannabidiol, also called CBD oil, which has little to no THC (the part of the plant that gives the “high”) but has several health benefits– one of which is treating seizures and tumors, according to Dr. Stuart Titus, an expert in medical marijuana research for HempMed.

“We are very confident in the quality and safety of our CBD oil,” says Titus. “Hemp is a natural food for humans and with the huge number of endogenous cannabinoid receptors proven to be in the human body, plant-based cannabinoids can potentially supplement this large self-regulatory system. So we believe botanical CBD once tested is safe, at least by HempMed’s standards.”

The Higueras had to search hard before they finally found a doctor who would treat a child at such a young age. The doctor decided to use a type of CBD oil called RHSO (Real Scientific Hemp Oil), which is CBD only, as well as a supplemental oil that contained a small amount of THC.

Afraid of how her other children would react, Sadie’s mother took Sadie’s siblings, then 2 and 4, to the park while Sadie’s father gave the infant her first treatment. Within 10 minutes of giving Sadie the CBD oil through a G-tube (a tube inserted directly into her stomach because she is unable to swallow), Higuera noticed a difference.

“I noticed her eyes stopped twitching. It had been six months since I had seen that. Her eyes always moved from side to side, so I almost couldn’t believe it,” Higuera says. “Her body even relaxed. It was a miracle.”

When his wife came back, he didn’t tell her what he had noticed, afraid that perhaps he was seeing a change because it was something he was desperate to see. However, she noticed immediately.

“She looked at Sadie and said ‘I got my baby back!’” says Higuera.

Suddenly, Sadie was able to follow her parents with her eyes; she was able to focus on what she was seeing. She hadn’t been able to do these things since she was 3 months old.

“All of those steroids took our baby from us, and the RHSO [CBD oil] gave her back to us,” says Higuera. “From there it has been one leap and bound after another with her.”

Now, Sadie is 3 years old and is able to go to school. She still has seizures, but not nearly as many as she was having before. She has scoliosis and aches and pains, but is able to function with less difficulty than before, and her parents couldn’t be happier with her progress.

“We take it day by day,” says Higuera. “But the things that were always the most life-threatening were the seizures and it [CBD oil] has been a game changer. A life changing deal.”

Sadie can communicate now; she can play with her siblings and her family can finally enjoy getting to know their little girl. She even has normal sleeping patterns now, which her parents were not sure she would ever have. The swelling in her spine has also gone down, which means she does not have to wear a back brace full time. Her doctors have seen a major reduction in the number of tumors in Sadie’s body as well.

“She is pretty much treated like a normal child now, and that wasn’t possible before,” says Higuera, his voice filled with pride. “It [CBD] has changed our lives.”

Because of the restrictions on CBD oil, the Higuera family encountered quite a bit of red tape to have CBD oil administered to her in the ER. They were given a social worker when Sadie was admitted to the hospital and at first, it was difficult to receive the treatment she needed. However, after working with the state and the hospitals, now she is able to receive the oils she needs at the hospital and through doctors. If Sadie has a seizure at school, her parents have to take her off the grounds to administer CBD oil, but she is able to get back to her routine fairly quickly. Because they live in California, it is easier to purchase the oils she needs.

Currently, Florida law allows the production and use of CBD oil. However, those who produce it must pay a $5 million bond to the state of Florida. This makes it increasingly difficult to obtain the oil without leaving the state. This could change in November, when medical marijuana will be on the ballot in Florida under Amendment 2, which would allow the use of marijuana and marijuana- related products to treat illnesses when prescribed by a doctor. Amendment 2 will require at least 60 percent of the vote to pass.

The benefits of CBD oil and hemp products outweigh the risks, according to Titus. “Currently, no other medicine exists to effectively cure any neurodegenerative disease, according to the Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases,” he says. “There is tremendous research going on throughout the world on the science of the cannabinoids. We believe there are potential applications for neurology including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. In Spain CBD has been researched to assist with depression. It is also used in Israel for bone healing. CBD seems to assist the body’s natural processes via the endogenous cannabinoid system. So people can take this to achieve improved health and wellness; we do hope to eventually have a recommended daily intake established.”

Because of the changes that they have seen in their daughter, the Higuera family shares their story to prevent other children from needless suffering.

“Doctors have seen us and heard our story and give our information to their other patients so that we can tell them our story,” says Higuera. “Family members who are very against drug use have seen the difference and have learned more about how medical marijuana can be a game changer for so many of us. If we can help more children to live a normal life, than all of the danger of talking about CBD is worth it.”

Higuera understands that other parents may criticize his choice, but that only when you are faced with overwhelming negative odds and no other options will someone understand.

“We got our daughter back,” says Higuera with a sigh. “That is all we could ever ask for.”

To learn more about Dr. Titus’s research and CBD oil visit,

Where is Medical Marijuana Legal?

Posted on: August 29th, 2016 by Angela Ardolino No Comments

Medical marijuana laws are typically created in one of two ways: either through a voter backed initiative like in California or through a state’s legislative body as in the case of Pennsylvania. While voter initiatives must be approved to be added to ballots only on election years, state lawmakers can introduce a medical marijuana bill whenever the state legislatures are in session.

So far, 25 states have established medical marijuana programs. These states include: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland,Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington. In addition, Washington, DC and Puerto Rico allow medical marijuana for patients.

Additional states, while not offering comprehensive medical marijuana programs, have approved marijuana- based “low THC, high cannabidiol (CBD)” products for limited medical purposes. These states include Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin, andWyoming.

Alternatively, CBD oil products that are derived from hemp are legal to purchase and use in all 50 states without a visit to a doctor, a medical marijuana card, or paying a state enrollment fee. Made with naturally high-CBD, low-THC hemp, these products contain the same levels of CBD as those sold in medical marijuana dispensaries, but because they are sold as supplements, they are 100% legal in the U.S.

weed medicine

How Do You Get Medical Marijuana?

Medical marijuana is only legally available in the states and territories that have established medical marijuana programs. The conditions and ailments that are approved for medical marijuana treatment vary, so you’ll need to first determine whether your condition is included on your respective state’s list of qualifying conditions. For up to date information on state medical marijuana laws and included conditions, visit this education page.

The rules and requirements for acquiring legal medical marijuana also fluctuate widely between each individual state and territory.

In general, you’ll need to visit your doctor who, if feeling that you and your condition would benefit from medical marijuana, will write you a recommendation. Because the FDA does not consider marijuana an approved medication, your doctor cannot prescribe it and your insurance will not cover it. Your doctor’s recommendation, however, authorizes you to move forward in the approval process.

In some states, like California, a signed doctor’s recommendation (and a state photo ID) is enough to gain access to medical marijuana dispensaries (authorized marijuana distributors) and offers some protections for patients when purchasing and transporting their marijuana.

Other states will require you to obtain a state issued medical marijuana “card”. Often this will include being placed in the state’s respective record system. You will then be allowed to buy marijuana from a state approved dispensary or (in some states) delivery service. Depending on your state of residence, there may be an enrollment fee needed to apply for a medical marijuana card, costing up to $200.

Once you have access to a marijuana distributor, you’ll have the option between a number of different options for using legal medical cannabis. Dried marijuana flower is still the most popular form, but a growing number of states have banned smokeable marijuana in their programs. Other choices include tincture sprays, capsules, vapes, concentrated extracts, and edibles. For those looking for external applications, balms, salves, and lotions can be rubbed directly into the muscles, joints, and skin for focused relief. There are even dermal patches that can be placed on the skin for delayed release through the day.

To read more about medical marijuana, click here.

To get CBD oil, email

Explaining Design to Kids

Posted on: August 26th, 2016 by Angela Ardolino No Comments

Originally published here

by Ryan Buynak of AR Design

Design 4 Kids

Kids are naturally curious about what their parents do for a living, and when we try to explain it to them (or even some adults) our explanations generally fall into one of two categories: lengthy and overly informative or hasty and placating. You have to find the middle ground.

This is even more important when you have to explain a job that’s a bit more abstract, like artist or psychologist. You have to go big with color and candy wrappers to keep them listening.

This dialogue is loosely taken from a conversation our creative director had with his daughter while driving to the grocery store.

Daddy, what exactly do you do?

I’m a graphic designer, honey.

I know, but what IS a graphic designer?

Graphic designers make pictures for things.

What kind of things?

See your juice box right there, someone like daddy designed that. Things like board games, posters, candy wrappers and book covers, and a bunch of other cool stuff.

You mean like my Spider Book?

Yes, exactly. The cover of every book is designed.

Why do you need to design them?

Because people like when things look nice and are easier to understand.

What people?

I work with businesses to design cool things for them and solve problems.

How do you do that?

I use colors and letters and pictures. Then, I arrange them to make people feel a certain way. See that stop sign right there? That is designed to let us know that we have to stop to let other drivers go ahead of us. Someone like me designed that.

Why is it red?

It is red because the color red is easy to see. If it were blue, it would blend in with the sky. That’s what designers have to think about.

That sounds like fun.

Design is a fun way to help people communicate with each other. Graphic design is everywhere you look and nearly everything has some design on it. Daddy gets to help decide what to put on those things.

Did you design this store?

No, but do you see that package of cookies right there? The pictures and letters on the package is what daddy does. Same with the soup and the chocolate milk.

Daddy, what are you going to do today at work?

<Sigh> I’m going to make someone’s logo bigger.

Design is Everywhere

Graphic design is problem solving and communication in visual form. Like a piece of a puzzle, graphic design, from logos to advertisements should make the world a little easier through which to travel. By teaching your kids about design, you are giving them a glimpse into art, creativity, problem solving, business and branding.

Next time your child asks you what you do for a living, take a breath and try to explain in the simplest of terms. Explaining it in the most uncomplicated way can even help you see it in a new light.

What is the Big Deal About Wheat?

Posted on: August 19th, 2016 by Angela Ardolino No Comments

By Christie Kirchoff, RN, MS-HNFM

If you find yourself wondering about or perhaps even poking fun at people who claim to be gluten intolerant; you are not alone.  In today’s world a healthy dose of skepticism is often necessary.  It can be tough to tell if something is a real thing or just a way for some big business to make money.  Most of what you will hear about wheat is that it contains Gluten. Gluten is a combination of two proteins: gliadin and glutenin.  These proteins are found in a grain’s endosperm. The endosperm is the part of the grain which is ground to make flours.  Gluten is found in wheat, barley rye and triticale and just about 1 in every 140 people have Celiac Disease which means that they cannot consume Gluten without triggering an autoimmune response.  Many, many other people have a sensitivity to Gluten and even more to wheat in general.

No doubt there are a ton of companies out there pushing Gluten Free products nowadays; I particularly love when products like nuts or milk proudly display Gluten Free on their labels, REALLY??!!  So, I get it, you are skeptical!  Here are some facts for you to ponder from a bread, cereal, pasta loving nutrition professional.  

The wheat we ate 50 years ago, is not the wheat we consume now.  First, heavy, frequent and substantial breeding/ cross breeding/ genetic engineering of various wheat varieties to create hybrids has occurred.  The kind of breeding is for qualities or attributes related to making a crop more profitable and not more nutritious.  So now we have stubby little wheat plants that can survive drought, weeds, pests and can be harvested 2-3 times a year rather than “amber waves of grain”1.  Some scientists attempt to downplay this “breeding” as a simple enhancement to what would have potentially occurred naturally; sure, perhaps over another 10,000 years.  To speed this process up and to add/subtract varieties that would never have crossed paths, in addition to crude genetic modifications has created a product that we never would have come across naturally, and we have not had enough time to adjust to the forced changes.  As if this was not bad enough news, Monsanto entered the wheat game in 2009.  Need I say more….

In addition to being a completely different kind of wheat than anything we have eaten before, wheat is now processed very differently.  Back in the day wheat was soaked, fermented and sprouted prior to baking and processing to make breads and cakes and pasta.  Now the most commonly eaten form of wheat is flour.  Flour is a highly refined product, and by refined I mean processed not superior in manners.  Processed doesn’t even seem to fit what we really do to wheat; we bleach it, mill it, separate it and strip it of all nutrients until what we have is a sugar spiking carb capable of making anything gooier, chewier and taste better.  

Perhaps the biggest component to all of this is the fact that we consume vastly larger amounts of wheat than we did in the past.  Nearly every processed product has vital gluten added to it and has thereby radically increased consumption of gluten. “The past five decades have seen the rise of gluten as a commodity in its own right, through the largescale industrial separation of wheat starch from gluten, plus the controlled drying of the gluten so as to retain its functional properties. The resulting Vital Dry Gluten is most widely used in bakery products. However, gluten (vital, de-vital or modified) is finding increasing use as a food ingredient to provide a range of functional properties at a more modest price than competitors such as milk and soy proteins.”2

There is a big problem here, one that I hope you have figured out on your own.  Of course people are experiencing greater levels of sensitivities to wheat.  Will replacing wheat with tapioca, rice and corn fix this issue?  Perhaps temporarily it will; until it becomes big business and we corrupt another food source in order to make it more profitable.  So what can YOU do?  For starters, let go of the idea that someone else is looking out for your health and wellbeing.  Educate yourself about food additives and ingredient lists and read nutrition labeling before you buy.  Seek out food products made by companies who do it for the love of food and not for sheer profit, they are easy to spot.  Buy local and organic whenever possible.  Ancient grains are always a good option, they can be found at almost every grocery store and online; Kamut, Quinoa and Buckwheat are my favorites, check the labels though.   

  1. Ozkan H, Tuna M, Arumuganathan K. Nonadditive changes in genome size during allopolyploidization in the wheat (aegilops-triticum) group. J Hered. 2003;94(3):260-264.
  2. Day L, Augustin M, Batey I, Wrigley C. Wheat-gluten uses and industry needs. Trends Food Sci Technol. 2006;17(2):82-90.

Medical Marijuana Polling at 80% Approval

Posted on: August 15th, 2016 by Angela Ardolino No Comments

In a survey conducted by Anzalone Liszt Research on behalf of United for Care, likely Florida voters favor Amendment 2 – “Use of Marijuana for Debilitating Medical Conditions” – by a margin of 77%-20%. Anzalone conducted a similar survey for United for Care in June, 2014 in which the previous version of Amendment 2 received 69% support. The medical marijuana amendment ultimately received 58% in the last election, just shy of the 60% that Florida law requires for passage.

Kevin Akins, of Anzalone Liszt Grove, said of the recent polling, “Voter support for medical marijuana in Florida is stronger than ever. A broad and diverse coalition of voters across age, racial, and gender lines support Amendment 2 by a winning margin.”

Indeed, the survey showed only 3% undecided. Other recent polls have shown similarly small levels of undecided voters on this issue.

United for Care campaign manager, Ben Pollara, said, “I’m obviously pleased at these levels of support, but I’m also not surprised. The notion of allowing medical decisions to be made by doctors and patients, not politicians, is simply not controversial. Floridians are compassionate and they know that marijuana can help alleviate suffering.”

“The 2016 ballot language is also stronger and addressed a number of concerns that some voters expressed previously. It was approved unanimously by the supreme court, and we’re seeing a broader coalition supportive of passage than before,” said Pollara.

Respondents to United for Care’s poll were read the complete ballot title and summary for amendment 2 – “Use of Marijuana for Debilitating Medical Conditions” – that will appear on Florida’s 2016 general election ballot, then asked if they would vote “yes” or “no” on the amendment. The poll was conducted July 17-21 and has a margin of error of +/- 3.1%. The poll included bilingual dialing, and 46% of the poll was among cell phone completes, while 39% of the poll was among cell phone-only households.

Baby the Baby Teeth

Posted on: August 15th, 2016 by Angela Ardolino No Comments

Losing baby teeth is part of a child’s growth and development, but the premature loss of baby teeth can create a unique problem for your child. Premature tooth loss typically happens due to tooth decay and infection, and because your child’s tooth and jaw is not yet fully developed, this problem can result in the loss of permanent teeth and crowding. Get the facts on pulpotomy treatment to protect your child’s teeth now and prevent problems down the road.

Root Canals For Children

The above infographic was compiled and designed by Grove Dental Associates, creating beautiful smiles every day.

Legal Medical Marijuana Sales Begin

Posted on: August 11th, 2016 by Angela Ardolino No Comments

Marijuana flower buds.

Medical marijuana will be legally for sale next week, but it is not a time to celebrate or stop working.

While it is technically accurate medical marijuana will be “available” next week for purchase in Florida—due to some limited bills passed by the legislature—the reality is that all but a few who should have access (and would under Amendment 2) will still find themselves without it. The limitations and constraints of the laws are so great that very few doctors can currently recommend medical marijuana, and virtually no patients will actually be able to buy it.

Paraphrasing John Morgan… That’s just f***ing stupid.

Meanwhile, our opponents are pouring money into their campaign to try to make it so these patients NEVER have access. (Fight back here.)

Amendment 2 remains the ONLY way to secure medical marijuana, with no fear of arrest or imprisonment, for the hundreds of thousands of patients suffering from a variety of serious, debilitating conditions and illnesses.  It also provides a regulatory environment that will make sure doctors can legally recommend marijuana to their patients.

Current law, with an exception for terminally ill patients, allows solely for “low-THC Cannabis”. The vast preponderance of science, medicine and anecdote say that THC, the chemical that gets a person “high”, is also the component that brings much of the plant’s medicinal benefits.

So yes, marijuana will be on sale next week in Florida. But few will qualify, fewer still will be able to find a doctor to make the order, and those few  who can may not be helped by what they purchase.

If sick and suffering Floridians are ever to truly see relief through medical marijuana, voters must approve Amendment 2 this November.

Pescatarian Palate

Posted on: August 11th, 2016 by Angela Ardolino No Comments

family in the kitchen

Going on any kind of “diet” can be a hard decision to make, especially with all the options out there. Staying away from fad diets is always a good way to go, as they are usually not sustainable diets for long term goals. However, a twist on an oldie but goody vegetarian diet, is a healthy alternative that can come with some great benefits.

To fish or not to fish? A good question for anyone considering a pescatarian diet!

What is a pescatarian diet?

The pescatarian diet is a vegetarian diet with the inclusion of fish and seafood. This also means cutting out any land animals or birds.

These foods can be prepared in any way preferable, just not with ingredients from the usual Do-Not-Eat list of a vegetarian.

Another aspect of the pescatarian diet is eggs and dairy. While these are allowed on this fish diet, the consumption of these rests on the dieter and can be excluded if desired.

What can I eat?

The normal inclusion of fresh fruits and veggies are on the list, along with whole grains, nuts, seeds, and beans. Because animal protein are complete proteins, this helps meet daily protein requirements.

So are all fish and seafood on the list?

Not exactly.  Things like shellfish are things to stay away from as they are “bottom feeders”. These animals living on the sea floor can be contaminated from heavy metals and ocean pollution and are not good for human consumption.

So can I eat fish all day everyday?

Maybe not the best idea. It’s recommended to not go overboard on fish because of the presence of mercury, especially in the larger fish.

Is it good for the whole family?

A heavy fish diet is not recommended for pregnant or nursing mothers or small children because of the mercury in fish tissue.

What are my benefits?

Eating fish can be a great source of protein and those omega-3s fatty acids that can help reduce blood fat (triglycerides) and ease joint stiffness and pain. Fish can also help to supply nutrients and especially iron, which vegetarians can sometimes lack.

The presence of EPA and DHA can help with inflammation and heart health. Also, DHA is essential for developing the brain and preserving cognitive function.

A boost in the immune system can come from fish, as well as helping to reduce the inflammation that can cause cancer.

All in all, a pescatarian diet can be a great way to go if you’re wanting to ditch other kinds of meat, for whatever reason. Remember to plan meals accordingly to avoid over eating fish with higher levels of mercury and tiring your taste buds. Let’s get fishy!

To read more about healthy eating, click here.

To learn about portion distortion, click here.

To sign up for healthy meal delivery, visit

Back to School Physicals

Posted on: August 8th, 2016 by Angela Ardolino No Comments

Parents, soon you will be rushing to buy clothes and school supplies. Then there’s your child’s annual school physical to consider.  Is it really all that important?  Your child has been running around all summer and, judging by his appetite and outgrown clothes, seems very healthy.

The short answer is yes! The annual physical is a great opportunity to take a comprehensive look at your child’s health.

Why should my kids visit their primary physician over a health care outlet?

Firstly, your child’s pediatrician will provide continuity in health care with records of growth, immunization, medical history and ongoing care. This kind of care cannot be duplicated by a walk-in clinic.

A perfect example is your child’s standardized growth curve that their primary physician can immediately analyze based on prior measurements. If your doctor spots a new trend it will alert them to ask questions about nutrition, exercise and other symptoms that may signify a medical condition.

Plan Ahead

Your child’s annual visit is an opportunity to make the most of your time with the pediatrician. In this preventive care visit, the pediatrician usually examines your child for any changes in their health – from growth spurts to developmental issues. The pediatrician may ask questions about your child’s nutrition, exercise and any behavioral changes. They may also want to discuss how your child has done in school to see if there are any learning or behavioral issues that are concerning. Your child’s doctor will also talk about safety issues, including switching from car seats to booster seats or making sure your child always wears a helmet when bike riding.

According to Dr. Rachel Dawkins, it’s a good idea to prepare a short list of questions to ask the doctor. These could include:

What is a typical weight/height for my child’s age group?

How can I help improve my child’s overall nutrition and eating habits?

What are some safe ways for my child to exercise?

Remember to take notes during the visit and to bring any school forms that need to be filled out by the doctor. You may even want to give these forms to the nurse when you check in to be sure the forms get signed before you leave the appointment.

If your child plans to play a sport here a few additional questions:

Is there approved safety equipment I should purchase?

Should my child get a follow-up exam if they experience a sports injury?

What should my child’s physical consist of?

A comprehensive physical will include a review of your child’s weight, height, body mass index (BMI) and vital signs, like blood pressure, heart rate and temperature. Their pediatrician will also check their heart, lungs abdomen, eyes, ears, nose and throat. If your child decides to play a sport this year the doctor should also address recent injuries, cardiac issues, concussion history and asthma. In a perfect world, have your child’s sports physical about 6-weeks before the start of the activity.

Your child will also be given immunizations to keep them up-to-date before starting school. You can find the list of immunizations for each age group here.

Remember, even if you think your child is up to date on their immunizations, it’s important to visit the pediatrician at least once a year to discuss your child’s growth, development and any other potential health issues. Consider making their annual visit during the summer

Sports Physicals

An annual exam is important for young athletes. According to, during a sports physical your child’s pediatrician will likely perform cardiac, joint and neurological exams, checking eyesight, muscle strength and other areas that could affect performance on the sports field. Be prepared to discuss prior sports injuries (such as concussions or muscle tears) and any family history of cardiac issues.

To stay active, young athletes need a healthy diet and plenty of fluids. Your pediatrician will want to discuss their nutrition and exercise habits. Again, don’t forget to bring any sports physical forms that need to be filled out by the pediatrician and are required by coaches in order for your child to participate in their activity.

The most important part of your child’s health is being involved and having them communicate with you when something doesn’t feel right. Remember that doctors are not mind readers so if you think something is wrong, say something.

By Angela Ardolino of Parenting with Angela,

Let’s Talk Toothpaste

Posted on: August 8th, 2016 by Angela Ardolino No Comments

Happy kid girl smile

It has never been a secret that good oral health is important. Brushing your teeth can prevent plaque, gingivitis, and can even help even out your blood sugar– which has a direct effect on diabetes (especially overnight, when food may sit if teeth go un-brushed, feeding sugar right into your blood stream.) Despite all of the health benefits of brushing, many of us don’t know what is really in our toothpaste.

Before we dive into the details, I want to emphasize that brushing your teeth (and your family’s teeth) twice a day is important and shouldn’t be skipped.

While brushing your teeth with regular toothpaste, like Colgate or Crest for example, is far better than not brushing at all, there are a few alarming ingredients in many toothpastes that seem to be normal across the board. For example, there are added sweeteners to many toothpastes. Look for ingredients like sorbitol or sodium saccharin, which are often used to sweeten the flavor of the toothpaste but have no benefits for the mouth. Instead, look for xylitol, which is not only safe but is beneficial.

Another ingredient that many people see and think is safe is fluoride. In small doses, fluoride has benefits for the mouth, however when you combine it with the high levels already added into our water supply, it can do more harm than good. In fact, sodium fluoride is so dangerous that ingesting more than a pea size amount should be called into poison control! This is why the toothpaste containers say to call poison control if ingested– yet this is something that we put right into our children’s mouths. On the less dangerous end of the spectrum, it can cause acne outbreaks.

A few other ingredients to watch out for include: triclosan (which effects heart function), glycerin (which blocks the healthy benefits of natural saliva), titanium dioxide (which is a known carcinogen), and surfactants (which give the toothpaste a large lather but can also cause and exasperate canker sores).

To avoid all of the chemicals, you can either make your own toothpaste or try some of these healthier brands.

To make your own toothpaste, coconut oil, sea salt, Neem, and baking soda are great ingredients to help not only clean the teeth but to prevent plaque. You can find a full recipe for homemade toothpaste here.

For an easier alternative, I recommend these three toothpastes:

  1. Jack N’ Jill Toothpaste — This organic toothpaste is made with the safest ingredients possible. Jack N’ Jill is absolutely free of anything GMO and free of Palm Oil derivatives. Ingredients include: Xylitol, Purified Water, Vegetable Glycerin (from coconut), Silica, Certified Organic Natural Flavor* (Blueberry, Blackcurrant, Strawberry, Raspberry, Banana), Xanthan Gum, Certified Organic Calendula Officinalis Extract**, Potassium Sorbate (Naturally Derived), Citric Acid. It contains no fluoride or artificial ingredients or sweeteners and is even gluten free. $7
  2. Weleda Children’s Tooth Gel — Natural protection for children’s baby teeth and is fluoride-free. It gently cleanses with natural silica and biodynamic calendula soothes teeth and gums. It has a kid-friendly flavor with real spearmint and organic fennel. $7
  3. Burt’s Bees Toothpaste— Tastes great and is all natural. You can get it in many stores as well as online and it has natural kid-friendly flavors.

To read more about keeping your family’s oral hygiene on track, click here.

To learn about routines for your family, click here.