Ladan Vakili, DMD

Why Kids Should Smile

We are only as happy as our saddest child. Whether you believe that statement to be true or not, we can all agree that mothers want their sons to be happy. What father doesn’t love to see his daughter grinning? And what’s the universal indicator of a happy kid? A smile.

If you knew the impact a smile had on your child’s health, would you make every effort to encourage giggles and draw out those happy expressions? Smile-making might be one of the very best, most effective, and easiest things in your toolbox when it comes to raising healthy kids.

Eating right and getting plenty of rest are important habits to reinforce. But how about replacing vitamins with smiles? Read on to discover the countless benefits smiling has on your child’s mind, body, and overall well-being.

Your Child’s Mind

Stress Relief

Every time your child smiles, neuropeptides are released, relaxing her body and lowering her heart rate and blood pressure. When she’s upset over friends or homework, getting her to smile will help her relax.

Pain relief

Endorphins are released from the brain to act as a natural pain reliever. When your little guy falls and tears fill his eyes, what’s even better than kissing it better? Get him to smile.

Anti-Depressant

Depression is common among kids these days. Thankfully, our brains are designed to release serotonin which naturally lifts the mood. So, when your little girl is feeling down, make her smile in the way only your know-how, and see if it lifts her spirits.

Heart Health

Smiling often leads to laughter, and when it does, heart rates speed up, muscles relax, and heart rates and blood pressure slow down. Go the extra mile to make your child laugh, and you’ll get them ahead in life, reducing the risk of heart disease!

Immune System Booster

Kids seem to catch every bug that floats through the air, and keeping them healthy seems like an impossibility. But studies show that laughter (which involves smiling) releases molecules in your brain that fight illness while, conversely, negative thoughts can bring down your body’s immunity. How can you help your child to turn that frown upside down? Figure it out, and your child may dodge the next flu bug.

Your Child’s Body

Physical Appearance

A smile is the prettiest thing you can wear. As we train up our kids, model this maxim. Help them believe that it’s a smile that makes a person beautiful. A smiling person is generally perceived as someone who is relaxed and happy, confident and sincere. Maybe the first thing we should teach our kids is to smile.

Longevity

A study, using photographs of facial expressions to measure levels of emotion, found a link between smile intensity and long lives. The bigger the smile, the longer the life. It’s never too early to start giving your kid that advantage.

Your Child’s Social Life

Kindness

Smile at your child and watch them return the smile. (They won’t be able to resist.) Likewise, when you see them smiling, you can’t help but smile too. If smiling is contagious, your daughter’s smile will bring a smile to someone else, altering his or her outlook. Your daughter will do her friends a favor, using her smile to spread kindness and cheer.

Relationships

Growing up can be rough, especially when it comes to relationships. Have you noticed how people are drawn to those who smile? Smilers are seen as likable and positive. And being likable makes it simpler to develop and maintain friendships. Teach your kids to smile more and watch how their social circles expand!

We are in the practice of helping patients have their best smiles, and we want to do that for your child. Let’s help them develop a lifelong habit of caring for their smile while they are still young. Call us to schedule your child’s cleaning today! Kentfield Office Phone Number 415-454-6414

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Healthy Holiday Eating Guide for Kids

Holiday stress stats show that almost 70% of Americans feel short on time during the often chaotic, celebratory end-of-year stretch. And when we are rushed, stressed, and busy, our health—oral and overall—seems to be the first casualty. As parents, what are you doing to ensure your kids’ health is protected as they deck the halls this year?

Get ahead before the festivities ramp up and schedules get crazy and make a plan now. Set aside a few minutes to intentionally form a healthy eating plan that will keep your kids’ energy levels stable, their oral health on point, and their immune systems in check. Use these fun and doable tips to sketch out a plan.

Get creative. Studies show that kids eat twice as much fruit if it is presented to them in an appealing way. In other words, make it look good. Don’t simply cut up an apple and expect them to gobble down every slice. Go the extra mile to create fruit kabobs, or melon cut-outs with cookie cutters. Children will find joy in the creating and take pride in the eating.

Simple suggestion: If nothing else, always have a bowl of fruit accessible, especially for older kids. Scientists believe that seeing food increases the chances we will eat it. So, keep the cookies out of sight while making the fruit easy to grab.

Make it a game. Kids love a project, and by giving them a job, you’ll make them feel important while distracting them from what you’re really trying to do: ensure they eat a nutritious diet. Tell your kids that the assignment is to track the colors of the food they eat each day. They can design their own chart or print out this one. Tell them that the goal is to eat 4 different colors a day. Extra colors earn extra points.

Simple suggestion: Remember that eating a variety of colorful foods is key to boosting maximum nutrition, so do your family a favor and plan your shopping list accordingly. A colorful diet requires some intentional planning. That’s your job.

Redefine dessert. The secret to successfully changing up dessert is to do this without the kids knowing. If done right, they’ll love your new desserts and never miss, or even notice, the lack of refined sugar. Cleverly substitute homemade fruit smoothies (frozen fruit, a banana, and milk) for ice cream. Warm apples in a pan and sprinkle with cinnamon. Drizzle strawberries with dark chocolate. The options are endless.

Simple suggestion: The trick to serving fruit for dessert with ease is having it on hand all the time. This removes half the hassle, making it a new easy habit. Every time you grocery shop, make the produce section your first stop.

Drafting a nutritious eating plan now will not only benefit your family’s health this season but also give you a head start before the new year begins. Take a few minutes. Your family will thank you.

Happy holidays! And happy healthy eating! Dr. Vakili and team

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Healthy Summertime Snacks for the Whole Family

Right about now, we are all knee-deep in summer. And from campouts and bike rides to river rafting and beach trips, just about every outdoor activity requires a tasty treat. As you’re packing your picnic baskets and ice chests, mindful of your child’s health, both oral and overall, what are you mindfully making sure to include? What are you tossing in without much thought? Which items are causing you to cringe because they’re chock-full of all the no-no’s?With the kids out of school and hanging around home more than normal, it seems like they are always hungry, constantly eating, emptying our cupboards at an alarming rate. Whether you’re out on an adventure or lounging around the house, Dr. Vakili recommends you stock up on what’s healthy.

The Why Behind Healthy Summer Snacks

If your kids catch on to your healthy summer eating plan and whine and complain, here are some simple one-liners that you can dish out. Help your children understand that:Eating healthy will:

  • help you get big and strong — your body is growing quickly right now.
  • give you extra energy on the lake, on the hike, as you paddle, in the pool, etc.
  • keep you from getting sick and missing out on all the fun summer activities. prevent cavities that can be painful and lead to infection

Healthy Snack Alternatives

We know the drill. Kids love sweets, and since it’s summertime, they feel like they’re entitled to more treats than we usually allow. So it is up to us to have on hand more healthy options that help curb their craving for sugary treats. Let’s face it. Some things are just best out of sight and out of mind. Resist filling your fridge and freezer with ice cream and soda. Walk right past the chip and cookie aisles. We’ve compiled a list of healthy alternatives that will surely satisfy ever-hungry kids. Apple slices—dip in yogurt or peanut butter. Cheese cubes with your favorite veggies or fruit Fruit kebobs—thread bananas, cantaloupe, strawberries, grapes, kiwis, etc. onto a skewer. Homemade frozen yogurt—make a smoothie with your favorite fruits or freeze store-bought yogurt. Carrot or celery sticks—dip in hummus or guacamole. Whole grain crackers and cheese. Bowls of cashews, peanuts, almonds, raisins, and sunflower kernels. Watermelon—insert popsicle sticks into slices and stick in the freezer. Drink lots of water or milk to stay hydrated

Teeth-Friendly Snacks

When it comes to taking care of your kids’ pearly whites, foods high in calcium that promote strong teeth, low in sugar that ward off decay, and full of water that aid in rinsing away bacteria all contribute to excellent oral health. It may take a little extra thought and effort upfront, but in the long run, you’ll have happier, healthier smiles on your kids.Have a great summer!!Dr. Vakili & team

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