Monthly Archives: November 2015



What is Bullying?

Bullying can take many forms. It can be:

physical – hitting, shoving, damaging or stealing property

verbal – name calling, mocking, or making sexist, racist or homophobic comments

social – excluding others from a group or spreading gossip or rumors about them

written – writing notes or signs that are hurtful or insulting

electronic (commonly known as cyber-bullying) – spreading rumors and hurtful comments through the use of e-mail, cell phones (e.g., text messaging) and on social media sites.

 How can I tell if my child or teenager is being bullied?

 Even if she doesn’t talk about it, you can watch for signs that your child is being bullied. Here are some signs to watch for:

Children who are being bullied may not want to go to school or may cry or feel sick on school days.

They may not want to take part in activities or social events with other students.

They may act differently than they normally do.

They might suddenly begin to lose money or personal items, or come home with torn clothes or broken possessions, and offer explanations that don’t make sense.

Teens who are bullied and/or harassed may also start talking about dropping out of school and begin skipping activities that involve other students.

 My child is being bullied. What should I do?

Listen to your child and assure him that he has a right to be safe.

Be clear on the facts. Make notes about what happened and when it happened.

Help your child see that there is a difference between “ratting”, “tattling” or “telling” and reporting. It takes courage to report. Reporting is done not to cause trouble for another student, but to protect all students.

Make an appointment to talk to your child/teenager’s teacher, another teacher that your child/teenager trusts or the principal or vice-principal of the school.

Difficult as it may be, try to remain calm so that you can support your child and plan a course of action with him or her.

Stay on course. Keep an eye on your child’s behavior. If your meetings with school staff haven’t made the  bullying stop, go back and talk to the principal. Follow up on the steps that were agreed to at the meeting.

Speak to the instructor or coach if the bullying is taking place during after-school activities or sports events.

Contact police if the bullying involves criminal behavior, such as sexual assault or use of a weapon, or if the threat to your child’s safety is in the community rather than the school.

 How can I help my child deal with bullying?

By working with the school to help your child or teen handle the bullying problem, you are leading by example and giving a clear message that bullying is wrong.  Regardless of age, you can help by encouraging your child to talk to you about bullying and by giving the following advice:

Stay calm and walk away from the situation.

Tell an adult whom you trust – a teacher, the principal, the school bus driver or the lunchroom supervisor – about what happened or report it anonymously.

Talk about it with your brothers or sisters, or with friends, so that you don’t feel you’re alone.


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How Drugs Affect Your Oral Health

Drugs, prescribed and illegal, can affect your oral health differently, often causing tooth damage. We often first think of the very harmful illegal drugs, but there is also major oral health risks related to prescribed medications as well. Prescribed drugs such as antihistamines, aspirin and asthma medications are all examples of common medications that affect your oral health. Antihistamines are responsible for decreasing saliva produced, causing dry mouth. Saliva is important because it helps to protect your mouth from bacteria overgrowth. It is important to drink a lot of water and you can use special mouth washes like Biotene or ACT Dry Mouth to help treat these side effects while you are on antihistamine medications. Check with your regular physician and dentist for what products they recommend.

Aspirin and asthma medications are both very acidic in nature. It is important for you to take these medications exactly as directed by your doctor. Aspirin should be swallowed hole with water. It is also important to rinse your mouth or brush your teeth right after taking an inhaled asthma medication.

Illegal drugs such as methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin typically cause severe sugar cravings. The high from meth and heroin can also cause the user to pass out for long periods of time. When passed out, people often breathe through their mouth, causing it to dry out easier, which can have harmful effects on oral health. These drugs are also highly acidic, leading to major decay of the enamel on the teeth. Lastly, users can become paranoid from these drugs causing them to clench and grind their teeth. These are examples of how illegal drugs have lasting effects on oral health. It is critically important for parents to talk to their children, educating them about illegal drugs how to prevent their use and help promote their overall oral health.