Friday, October 31, 2014

Balancing: It’s all in your ears

Even the simplest action, like walking, is affected by a person’s sense of balance. This balance comes from a complex combination involving the visual system and kinesthetic senses, along with one other important area: the inner ear.

According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, without those three parts working in concert, a person becomes dizzy and loses their sense of balance. The inner ear plays a critical role in balance, and any disturbances, such as calcium deposits, can affect a person’s balance. Some other causes of dizziness include Meniere’s Disease, certain drugs, and head trauma.

In order to determine what is causing a person to lose their balance, a doctor may conduct a balance assessment to monitor any changes and detect the site of the problem. Symptoms of balance issues include having rapid, involuntary eye movements; vertigo and dizziness; and difficulty or awkward walking/running.

If you suspect you may have problems with your balance, talk to your doctor about the health of your inner ear. He or she can assess your condition and determine the existence of any abnormalities.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

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.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Your vision during nighttime driving

As we age, our eyes naturally start to change. You may find it harder to read at a distance, have trouble seeing in low-light situations, or notice that your vision becomes blurred – all of which can dramatically affect your nighttime driving skills. To help keep you safe on the road, the American Optometric Association recommends driving only on familiar, well-lit streets.

Because darkness can make it harder to distinguish objects and determine distances, older drivers should be extra careful when approaching intersections. It is also important to remove any distractions while driving at night, including the radio and cell phones. According to the American Optometric Association, keeping the windshield clean – don’t forget the inside! – can also help your vision. In any situation, it is always better to stay home or call a friend if you have doubts about driving in the dark.

Minimizing your driving from dusk to dawn can reduce the chance of getting in an accident or another unexpected incident. Talk to an eye doctor on your True Dental Discounts - vision plan about any concerns you may have about your vision as it relates to driving. The American Optometric Association recommends adults over age 61 schedule a comprehensive eye exam each year, so don’t wait.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

My child has hearing loss – now what?

Once a child has been diagnosed with any form of hearing loss, the parent’s next step is critical. In most cases, parents must work with a team of professionals to learn what to expect and how to adapt. According to the National Institute on Deafness and other Communicative Disorders, the child’s primary care provider can refer parents to an audiologist, an ear/nose/throat doctor, and a genetic specialist.

This team can help determine the cause of the hearing loss and recommend a course of treatment, if possible. Parents should expect to answer questions about the child’s pre-natal and birth history, as well as the family’s medical history. In addition to this information, specialists may recommend further testing of the child, including genetic tests and balance or eye examinations.

All of these tests can help narrow down the cause of the hearing loss and potentially point to a treatment plan. For this reason, it is very important that you talk to a medical professional about your child’s hearing. An audiologist can guide you through the needed appointments and help your family adapt to any changes. Call today to find out how you can save money on these appointments with your True Dental Discounts - dental plan.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Latex allergies and your oral health

People who frequently come into contact with products containing natural rubber latex may develop an allergy to this common ingredient. While typically found in household products like balloons, pacifiers, tires, and shoes, latex is also found in many medical items like masks, gloves, and bandages.

Because of this, it is important to identify any sensitivity you may have toward latex and inform your health care professional. According to the American Dental Association, people at increased risk of developing latex allergies include health care workers, those who have undergone numerous surgeries, and rubber industry workers.

Someone with a sensitivity to latex products may exhibit symptoms ranging from minor irritations like nasal congestion to severe anaphylaxis that could be life-threatening if not treated. If you know or suspect you are allergic to natural rubber latex, be sure to tell your True Dental Discounts - dental plan dentist prior to your next appointment.

He or she will then make a note to use latex-free alternatives at all subsequent visits to protect you from a reaction. For more information, talk to your doctor or dentist about your symptoms and their possible causes. Together, you can work to create the optimal environment for your health.