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February 2009



  • Kid’s Corner -

    Keep Your Teeth!

  • Mom’s Corner -

    Eating Disorders

  • Dad’s Corner -

    Dental Health for your children-Smokeless Tobacco

  •  Planet Earth

  • Great Backyard Bird Count

  • News -                                                                                                        

    Peanut Butter Scare-Why is Salmonella Dangerous?

Welcome to the Doc Grubb newsletter for February 2009

There are many great things to honor this month but I’ve chosen as the introduction to our newsletter two which I feel are really important: Black History Month, because we live in the Washington, D.C. area and were witnesses to the inauguration of the first African-American president and National Children’s Dental Health Month.


Dr. Carter G. Woodson, who has been called the "Father of Black History," is acknowledged as the person who started Black History Month. He was son of former slaves and spent his childhood working in coalmines and quarries. Although he had very little formal schooling, he studied on his own and entered high school when he was 19 years old. Through hard work he completed high school in only two years! A live-long learner, he went on to receive a Master's degree in history and a PhD in Philosophy from Harvard. He started Negro History Week in 1926 to make our nation aware of the vital contributions black American’s have are making to our history and chose the second week of February for the celebration because it marks the birthdays of two men, Frederick Douglass and President Abraham Lincoln. In 1976, Negro History Week expanded into Black History Month.


Unlike crocodiles who keep growing teeth as long as they live, we only have one set of teeth as adults so we need to take care of them. The first children's dental health celebration was a one-day event in Cleveland, Ohio on February 3, 1941 and the American Dental Association held the first national observance of Children's Dental Health Day on February 8, 1949, eight years later, which became a week-long event in 1955. Today the program is a month-long celebration which helps teach people why teeth are so important; how best to take care of your teeth; why regular examinations and cleanings by dentists are vital for dental, and overall health.

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A tooth fell out, and left a space
So big my tongue could touch my face.
And every time I smile, I show
a space where something used to grow.
I miss my tooth as you can guess
But then, I have to brush one less!

Author unknown

Your teeth are important for good health. Teeth chew up the food you eat to start the digestion process (your stomach doesn’t have teeth!); help you look your best and to speak clearly. It’s important to brush your teeth every day to prevent plaque from building up on your teeth from the food you eat. Plaque is a clear film you can feel with your finger and is very sticky. It acts like a magnet for bacteria and sugar which are like an acid on your teeth which and can lead to tooth decay and cavities by dissolving the hard protective enamel on the tooth. Plaque can also cause painful gum disease. Your gums are normally soft and pink but if they get red, swollen, and sore you really have a hard time eating and you certainly won’t want to smile very much.

How To Keep Your Teeth Healthy

  • Brush at least twice a day – be sure you brush at least after breakfast and before bedtime. It’s great if you can brush after lunch too, but sometimes it’s hard. When you brush twice a day you and your friends will notice how much cleaner and whiter your teeth become. My son keeps a travel toothbrush and toothpaste in his lunch box so he’s always ready to brush his teeth after lunch, or when he goes out with friends.
  •  Be sure you brush ALL of your teeth to include the front, back and sides.
  • Take your time brushing your teeth. Try to spend at least two minutes brushing your teeth. We use an electronic toothbrush in our home and it runs for two minutes, but beeps after 30 seconds so you know to switch form the front to back and from the top to bottom of your teeth.
  • Always use toothbrushes with soft or extra soft bristles (it will be written on the package). Hard bristles can injure your gums and tongue and you won’t feel like brushing if your mouth hurts.
  • Did you know that the toothbrush was invented over 1,000 years ago by the Chinese? Change your tooth brush about every three months when the bristles get worn down, or really dirty. It’s also a good idea to change your toothbrush after a serious illness or bad flu so you don’t put the germs back in your mouth! If you don’t get a new toothbrush, then sterilize it by soaking it in really hot water for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • If you don’t know how to floss your teeth, now’s the time to learn. Flossing gets the food that’s trapped between your teeth out so it can’t cause cavities or gum problems. It’s better to floss before you brush your teeth because it will loosen trapped food that your toothbrush can catch and remove from your mouth. Ask your dentist to show you how to floss. My son’s dentist says “you don’t have to brush all of your teeth…just the one’s you want to keep.”
  • Visit the dentist twice a year. If you can find a tooth or gum problem early, it’s easier to fix and you won’t hurt as much.
  • Eat and drink foods that don’t have extra sugar in them. The sugar will attract bacteria and you’ll get cavities much faster if you eat candy or drink sodas. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables and drink water instead of soda. Your teeth will handle these natural sugars much differently than the processed sugars and their substitutes found in candy and soft drinks.
  • Remember “SODA IS LIQUID CANDY!”

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February is National Eating Disorders Awareness Month.  I have had the opportunity over the years to work with many patients who suffer from eating disorders. While more common among girls, eating disorders can affect boys, too, especially boys involved in sports like wrestling and gymnastics. Eating disorders effect 1 or 2 out of every 100 children and are becoming more common. But many children and adults are able to hide eating disorders from their families for months or even years because they wear loose fitting clothes and appear to eat a healthy diet. Several of the causes for this increase in eating disorders include constant pressure from sports, movies, television and magazines to be abnormally slender. Many sports such as wrestling and gymnastics, mentioned above, dance and acting also make weight and body image a huge issue. If you don’t weigh what the coach or director wants, you don’t compete in the big meet or get the best part in the play.

The two most common eating disorders are anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. Anorexia and bulimia are very similar, but people with anorexia are usually very thin and underweight and people with bulimia may be a normal weight or even overweight. People with anorexia or bulimia frequently have an intense fear of being fat or think that they are fat even if their weight is normal. People with eating disorders also can have serious physical health problems, such as heart conditions or kidney failure and in severe cases suffer from severe malnutrition and may even die. The best-known example of a tragic outcome from an eating disorder is that of Karen Carpenter, the great singer, who died of heart problems after struggling for years with anorexia nervosa.

People with anorexia have an extreme fear of weight gain and a distorted view of their body size and shape and try to maintain a very low body weight. Some restrict their food intake by dieting or exercising for hours. The small amount of food they do eat becomes an obsession. People with anorexia become very thin; weigh themselves at least once a day; count calories and portion the food they eat very carefully; only eat certain foods; withdraw from social activities; and may do poorly in school because they get lightheaded and are unable to concentrate because they are starving.

Compared to people with anorexia who eat almost nothing, people with bulimia usually eat a huge amount of food, such as pizza, cakes, cookies or ice cream that almost dissolve in your mouth without chewing. They only stop eating when they are too full to eat any more or run out of food. Then they try to get rid of the calories they ate by vomiting, exercise for hours or use laxatives to not gain weight. People with bulimia also have health problems because constant vomiting can damage your stomach and kidneys; cause tooth decay from the stomach acids you throw up; and the loss of minerals such as potassium which can lead to heart problems and death.

I treat children and adults who have eating disorders by helping them establish new patterns of thinking about food and dealing with their eating patterns that can cause them psychological, nutritional and medical problems. I help children to think about their body size, shape, eating, and food. I also use nutritional counseling and individual along with family therapy because parents and other family members are vital to help children see their normal body shape is fine and that being excessively thin can be dangerous.

As a mother, your own eating habits and how your deal with your body image is a great influence on how your children think about food and how they look. Create a healthy lifestyle for your family by involving your kids in shopping for and cooking healthy, nutritious meals. In addition to the nutritious meals, make exercise a fun, rewarding, and regular family activity. Remember, you are a role model for your children. So eat healthy, exercise regularly and don’t think too much about how you look. Instead focus on being a healthy and happy role model.


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I talked in the kid’s section about how important it is for children to take care of their teeth. Kids learn how to take care of their teeth from you, their father. As a father, it is important to start good dental habits with your children as early as possible. For example, you can use a moist washcloth to wipe your baby’s mouth and gums after they eat even before their teeth start to appear. When your baby’s first tooth comes in, at about 6-8 months of age you can start brushing their teeth twice a day with a special infant’s toothbrush. Make sure you buy an infant’s toothbrush and not a children’s toothbrush by mistake. As your children get older, reinforce good brushing habits by making it FUN to brush teeth. Pick out a toothbrush with a favorite cartoon character; get toothpaste of flavors your child likes but without sugar or an added sweetener!  I’ll put a plug in here for “Tom’s of Maine” toothpaste. They make strawberry and orange flavored toothpaste that is very good. Watch them as they brushing their teeth so you can help them clean those hard to reach areas, how to maneuver and rotate their brush, and help them floss between teeth, as cavities often form in these areas. My son’s dentist suggest that all children be seen just before their first tooth comes in or at least as soon as possible after their first birthday so he can identify problems and make suggestions about how to help your child to take care of their teeth.

It is also important to have your child eat a healthy diet and help them to develop the ability to select fresh and healthy foods. Fast food and sodas all contain a large amount of fat and sugar which when left on the teeth make a great place for bacteria to grow and cavities to start. If you limit how many sweets your child eats you’ll also help prevent them from gaining weight in our fast food society.

Teeth are just part of caring for your child’s mouth. As part of caring for my son’s overall health, I started talking to him before he could walk about the importance of not smoking cigarettes. But I didn’t talk with him about ssmokeless tobacco. Many people who chew tobacco or dip snuff think it's safer than smoking. But smokeless tobacco can cause severe gum problems or red sores in the mouth that can turn to cancer. Most children have a role model who they want to be like. As a father your children will want to be like you but some smokeless tobacco manufacturers sponsor rodeos, car racing and music concerts to get you and your children to use smokeless tobacco. If your child sees one of their sports or music idols using smokeless tobacco, “it must be okay and if I use it I’ll be just like them!” It’s important as a parent to share with them that many of the people they idolize who use smokeless tobacco (and get tattoos) end up regretting it when they develop serious health problems from tobacco.

Smokeless tobacco contains more nicotine than cigarettes, so it’s even harder to stop using smokeless tobacco than cigarettes! The key is not to start at all! Kids don't think anything bad will happen to them because they are young and feel like they are immortal. It's hard for them to imagine that they could get mouth, stomach or throat cancer from using smokeless tobacco today. Help them to understand why it is so important to not start using tobacco products.

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The Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC)

The 12th annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) happens February 13-16, 2009.  This free event is an opportunity for families, students, and people of all ages to discover the wonders of nature in backyards, schoolyards, and local parks, and, at the same time, make an important contribution to conservation. Anyone can participate and by counting birds for as little as 15 minutes and report their sightings online at you can help researchers understand bird population trends, information that is critical for effective conservation. There are many great photos of different types of birds on their webpage so you will be able to identify what kinds of birds you are counting. In 2008, participants submitted more than 85,000 checklists.

The Great Backyard Bird Count benefits both birds and people and is a great example of citizen science. Families, teachers, children and all those who take part in GBBC get a chance to improve their observation skills, enjoy nature, and have a great time counting for fun, counting for the future.  From all of our effort everyone can see a complete picture of where birds are in late winter and how their numbers and distribution compare with previous years.

How to do the Great Backyard Bird Count

1. Plan to count birds for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count, February 13–16, 2009. You can count each day or just some of the days and you can count in different places. Just be sure to keep a separate list of birds for each day and each location.

2. For each type of bird you see, count the most you see at any one time. For example, maybe you see two chickadees when you start watching, then five chickadees a few minutes later. The number you put on your list for chickadees is five. Do not add two plus five. (This way you don't accidentally count the same bird twice.)

3. Enter your results on the Great Backyard Bird Count web site Then watch the maps as more and more people enter their reports.

Visitors to the Web site can also compare their sightings with results from other participants, as checklists pour in from throughout the United States and Canada. Together, these counts offer a real-time snapshot of the numbers and kinds of birds that people are finding, from boreal chickadees (I love that name!)  in Alaska to wood storks in South Carolina.
              The more people who count and the more checklists submitted provides vital information about bird population trends, and will help everyone to make better conservation decisions so we can put the services

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The Peanut Butter Scare-Why Is Salmonella Dangerous?

We are in a public health emergency with many people getting sick and some dying caused by an outbreak of Salmonella. A USA Today article from February 10, 2009 reported that almost 600 people have gotten sick and 8 people have died from Salmonella, probably from contaminated peanut butter and peanut paste produced by the Peanut Corporation of America (PCA). PCA allegedly distributed potentially contaminated product to more than 100 firms for use in cookies, crackers, cereal, candy and ice cream.

              But what is Salmonella? Salmonella is a bacteria that lives in the intestinal track of humans, birds and other animals. People get Salmonella by eating foods contaminated with animal feces. Salmonella causes Salmonellosis, one of the most common intestinal infections in the United States and causes an estimated 1.4 million cases of food borne illness and more than 500 deaths annually in the United States. Salmonella bacteria can be found in raw meat or poultry, milk and dairy products, eggs, seafood, and some fruits and vegetables. The bacteria can cause illness if meat, poultry, and egg products are not cooked to a minimum internal temperature and fruits and vegetables are not thoroughly washed. The bacteria can also contaminate other foods that come in contact with raw meat and poultry so safe food handling practices are necessary to prevent bacteria on raw food from causing illness. When people get infected with salmonella they experience diarrhea, stDoc Grubb Logoomach cramps, and fever, usually within 8 to 72 hours after they eat contaminated food. They may also have chills, headache, nausea, and vomiting. Symptoms usually disappear within 4 to 7 days but Salmonella infections can be life-threatening especially for infants and young children, pregnant women, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems. Persons with diarrhea usually recover completely, although it may be several months before their bowel habits are entirely normal.
You can prevent salmonella poisoning by practicing good food safety. Make sure you cook food, especially chicken, thoroughly. Don’t eat raw eggs and avoid foods that contain raw eggs such as cookie dough, Caesar salad dressing. Use separate cookware when preparing raw chicken and cooked products to avoid cross contamination of foods. And be sure you wash your hands before dealing with cooked food after handling raw food.

Learn to recognize the symptoms of salmonella infection. Protect yourself when you encounter infected people by washing your hands to prevent yourself from being infected. If you are in a restaurant and they bring you undercooked food, especially chicken or eggs, send it back. Don’t take a chance on getting sick.


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Our free newsletter “The Worm’s Eye View” is uploaded to the computer each month. Each issue includes valuable information for all members of the family as well as the inclusion of the most up-to-date information concerning medical research and treatments.

As a subscriber you will be sent announcements of my new books, CD, and seminars at reduced prices and fees. Sign-up now.

You should read my latest book, “Solving the Weight Loss Puzzle.” Please go to the order page and read part of the first chapter. You will learn a lot from this book why everyone has gained weight and the Three Secrets to normalize your weight.


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