Health & Wellness

Talk to Your Child About Mental Health

Talk to Your Child About Mental Health – Part 1

Everyone has mental health and it changes daily. It's about your range of emotions and affects the way you think and feel about yourself and others and how you cope with life's challenges. Mental health problems can affect your thinking, feelings, mood and behaviour. Mental illnesses also affect your thinking, feelings, mood and behaviour but need a diagnosis from a doctor and treatment. Commonly diagnosed mental illnesses are depression and anxiety.

Mental health problems and illnesses are common. Even if your family isn’t directly affected by them, you're likely to know people who are. Talking to your child about mental health may seem like a hard topic, but talking about it breaks down the stigma surrounding it. The more open you are, the more you encourage your child to look after his or her own mental health, ask for help, and help support friends.

It’s important for children to know that they can talk to you about their own or someone else’s mental health. Being open to talk about mental health shows your child you care. Before you begin your conversation, keep in mind the following:

  • Small chats are just as good as long ones.
  • You don’t need to have or know all the information. It’s okay if you aren’t an expert.
  • Having good mental health doesn’t mean you’re happy all the time. People can have a mental health problem without having a mental illness. Encourage healthy coping strategies like being creative, being active, eating healthy food, getting enough sleep and spending time with others.
  • Try and get in the habit of talking about everyday things like hobbies, school day or friends. This can make it easier if harder topics come up.
  • If your child doesn’t feel like talking, just wait until he or she does.

Adapted from resources available at: http://www.time-to-change.org.uk/

Protecting Teeth with Fluoride

Even though teeth are hard they are porous too, which means minerals pass in and out of your child’s teeth every day. One of these minerals is fluoride. Fluoride helps to keep the outer surface of teeth, called enamel, hard and decay free.

Fluoride works best in direct contact with your child’s teeth. Daily, constant exposure of small amounts of fluoride is one of the best ways to strengthen teeth. This happens when your child drinks water with fluoride, uses a fluoride mouth rinse and brushes with fluoride toothpaste. Sometimes teeth need additional protection from tooth decay. Your child’s teeth may benefit from professional fluoride treatments like fluoride gel, foam or varnish from their dentist.

Remember to get the best benefits from using fluoride:

  • Drink water with fluoride when available
  • Make sure your child brushes twice a day with only a pea-size amount of fluoride toothpaste. Spit when finished brushing and don’t rinse
  • Ask your child’s dentist if your child’s teeth would benefit from additional fluoride

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