Thursday, January 8, 2015

Hearing screening for babies

Nearly 12,000 babies born each year in the United States have a hearing impairment, according to the National Institutes of Health. And the sooner hearing loss is identified in infants, the less delay there is in learning to speak and learn. Babies learn to communicate by listening to the people around them from the time they are born; if hearing loss is present, it is important to be aware and make adjustments so the hearing centers of the child’s brain can be stimulated, allowing him or her to develop critical speech and language skills.

Many hospitals offer hearing screenings to help parents detect any signs of abnormality in their infants. During the screening, two different types of tests may be used. The first measures the echo of a sound in the ear canal using a tiny microphone, while the second uses electrodes to measure responses to sound. Neither of these tests is intrusive or painful; in fact, many babies sleep right through both tests. If your child does not past the screening, do not panic. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, up to 10 percent of all babies do not pass the screening due to varying reasons that do not imply hearing loss.

For instance, babies with normal hearing may not pass if they have fluid in the middle ear or if there is distracting movement or crying during the test. However, if your child does not pass the initial screening, it is critical that he or she receive a follow-up test. As noted, the sooner any signs of hearing loss are detected, the sooner the child can begin to learn and communicate. If you are pregnant, ask an audiologist on your True Dental Discounts - hearing plan about hearing screenings for infants. He or she can help you prepare for that important step after the baby’s birth and give you peace of mind about the health of your child.

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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Signs of a great toothbrush

You know how important it is to brush your teeth twice a day to fight plaque and cavities -- but are you using the right brush? In reality, every person’s mouth is different, which means everyone needs different traits in a toothbrush. For instance, look at the size of your mouth: If you have a generally small mouth, it’s a good idea to find a brush with a small head.

Small-headed brushes allow you to angle the brush more effectively in a small space and can get into hard-to-reach corners. In terms of the handle of the brush, look for one with a good grip. Handles are made to fit in varying-sized hands, so make sure the one you pick fits nicely in yours. If you have arthritis, pay special attention to the surface of the handle and select one that won’t slip easily. Finally, when it comes to the bristles, most people benefit from a brush that is soft, but not too soft.

Packages specifically labeled “soft” are generally not the right choice, unless your dentist recommends it for you. Instead, look for ones that feature “medium” bristles. These ones will not be so rigid that they hurt your gums, but they will also stand up under pressure and remove plaque effectively. If you have any questions about choosing the right brush, talk to a dentist on your True Dental Discounts - dental plan. He or she can recommend the right brush for your mouth and even give you pointers about improving your technique.

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Friday, January 2, 2015

Good oral hygiene may be linked to memory health

In the last decade, mountains of research have been conducted on the brain and the way a person’s memory changes over time. But before you reach for the Ginkgo Biloba, you may want to consider reaching for the toothbrush instead. Researchers at West Virginia University are studying the effects of gum health on a person’s memory, and many experts predict that brushing and flossing may reduce the number of people suffering from Alzheimer’s.

Studies have already shown that gum disease increases a person’s risk for heart disease and stroke, perhaps due to the inflammatory response caused by periodontitis or microorganisms in the mouth. Now, researchers suspect that mental health can also be affected by a person’s gums. According to the West Virginia University Health Sciences Center, connections have already been found between severe dementia and gum disease.

To keep your gums healthy, it is important to brush your teeth twice a day and floss daily, as well as use fluoridated toothpaste and mouthwash. Most importantly, schedule regular visits with a dentist on your True Dental Discounts - dental plan and ask questions. Staying informed is the first step to staying healthy.

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