Do you ever wonder if the toothpaste you and your kids are using is toxic? Let’s take a look at some ingredients of concern that are in most conventional toothpaste brands.
Artificial Colorings – Linked to ADHD & hyperactivity in children.
Titanium Dioxide – It’s just there to make toothpaste white. EWG has a list of safety concerns, including possibly a carcinogen when ingested.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) – Causes canker sores for many people.
Triclosan – A pesticide and hormone disruptor.
Glycerin – It isn’t toxic, but ideally has no place in the mouth as it’s a soap that can strip your body’s natural oral mucosa and leaves a film. This could alter the microbiome in the mouth.
Ingredients we love: Hydroxyapatite (HAp) – is a naturally occurring mineral that makes up 97% of our tooth enamel and has been scientifically-proven to strengthen and protect your teeth without fluoride. While Hydroxyapatite is not as well-known in the US, it’s been the gold standard in Japan for over 40 years. TIP – Don’t rinse your mouth after brushing with HAp.
Bentonite Clay – A natural polisher that is rich in minerals and not too abrasive. It’s alkaline and helps reduce acidity in the mouth. TIP – Make sure it’s “lead-free” clay.
Xylitol – Reduces cavity causing bacteria in the mouth.
Summer is in full swing, which means weekend getaways and road trips. While for some a trip to the beach can help deter the stress associated with day-to-day life, for others it might spark a pang of anxiety. One of the most common questions we get as the weather gets warmer is: “how do I stay on track with my wellness goals while I am on vacation?” For so many of us, the excitement of being on a much-needed vacation coupled with an environment of food options that we do not usually indulge in creates a perfect storm of bloat, fatigue and overall unhappiness.
Here are some tips on how to stay on track while on vacation while still be able to enjoy yourself.
Bring Along Some Food From Home Stay on track with your diet by bringing some food from home. Whether that mean fresh veggies and fruit, gluten-free bread, your favorite protein powder or organic meat, make sure that you are sticking with your routine from home to not only encourage healthy eating while away, but also to avoid temptations of food items that may cause unpleasant side effects.
Drink Lots of Water Drinking lots of water daily is critical to your wellbeing and it’s even more important while you’re on vacation. Making sure that you are staying hydrated can help aid in digestion and prevent constipation while you are traveling. If you are indulging in alcoholic beverages while on vacation, this tip is even more crucial. It’s an excellent idea to alternate between alcohol and water in order to avoid dehydration.
Prioritize Whole Foods Eating an adequate amount of vegetables and fruit while on vacation will keep your fiber intake up during vacation. An easy way to get lots of whole foods is to make a superfood green smoothie for breakfast with plenty of fruits and veggies added in. Continue to prioritize whole foods throughout the day by getting veggies and/or fruits at every meal.
Get Plenty of Sleep Being on a vacation always couples with being out of your normal routine; which is typically a good thing unless it interferes with your sleep. As tempting as it is to stay out later, getting a couple hours of sleep in before midnight will provide you with enough restorative sleep to help maximize your sleep and, in turn, stay on track with your wellness goals.
Don’t Stress You’re on vacation after all! After navigating through the stress of daily life, this is your chance to lower your cortisol levels and spend quality time with loved ones. Don’t let your fear of losing traction on your goals interfere with your ability to truly enjoy yourself. If you backtrack a bit take it easy on yourself. Rather than beating yourself up for indulging in dessert the night before, celebrate yourself for going on a run the following morning.
Wherever your travels make take you this summer, I hope that these insights give you peace of mind to relish in the calm and come back feeling rejuvenated and ready to continue your wellness journey. Safe travels!
While the family is enjoying the downtime from school break, the upcoming school year is in the back of my mind. I’m slowly starting to make lists for updating lunch boxes, checking clothing sizes, gathering school supply items, all the while wondering what the next grade level will be like for my kids.
“Preparation clears a pathway for success.” ~ Ron Kaufman
As a pediatric functional medicine provider, I recognize that each child has unique needs to optimize their mental and physical wellness. However, there are several general recommendations from which many children and families can benefit.
Specific to academic performance, here are some fundamentals for your “Back to School” checklist:
– Honor the importance of sleep for body and brain.
Lack of sleep impacts production of neurotransmitters like dopamine, crucial for its role in attention and focus. School aged children should be getting 10-12 hours of restorative sleep. Restless sleep, teeth grinding, snoring, and waking up tired after adequate hours, are all signs that the sleeping hours are not “quality”. Without quality sleep, the body has not had the restorative opportunity to repair, heal and learn.
– Check in on screen time.
Prolonged screen time is associated with increased difficulty in attention, focus, emotional regulation and anxiety. Take into account screen time needed for school and set boundaries for when and what type of screen time is allowed in the home.
– Clean up the pantry, stock the fridge.
Artificial foods and dyes have a direct, negative relationship to behavioral health and cognitive performance. When hungry, go the fridge first, aim for rainbow whole foods, read labels and avoid eating what you can’t pronounce.
Many patients and families notice improvement in mood, energy, digestion, pain and school performance by integrating the above considerations. If needed, there are more areas to investigate with a pediatric functional medicine provider.
In the functional medicine approach, we evaluate metabolic, nutritional, environmental and genetic contributors to your child’s symptoms or medical conditions. We want to understand “root cause” and not rely solely on band-aids to suppress or mitigate symptoms. We want to support the body and mind in need, while also shifting towards fundamental healing and prevention.
Some major contributors to impaired school performance include nutrient needs, like zinc and magnesium. If nutritional needs are found, we can directly support, but let’s also consider why the needs are there! Is the diet lacking? Does the digestive system have trouble absorbing nutrients adequately?
Speaking of the digestive system, the gut-brain axis is a recognized, bidirectional communication mechanism between the gut and brain. The gut microbiota affect the production and breakdown of neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin and GABA. These neurotransmitters are responsible for mood and academic performance. Dopamine is a key neurotransmitter for attention and focus.
When the body is under stress, dopamine production is hindered. Areas of stress include poor sleep, inflammatory foods/chemicals, food sensitivities, nutritional needs, yeast overgrowth, inflammatory bacteria.
Objective testing can be helpful in creating a personalized plan for our young patients. Less guessing, with more targeted interventions and support, can help you and your child experience enjoyment and success in their academic programs.
Call Carolina Total Wellness to schedule with our pediatric functional medicine provider.