Back-To-School Prep: Coping with Stress, Anxiety, and Uncertainty in Children

Back-To-School Prep: Coping with Stress, Anxiety, and Uncertainty in Children

Jessica Fowler, CADC, LCAS-A
Substance Use Prevention Specialist

From virtual to hybrid to in-person learning and back to virtual for some, last year was a rollercoaster of change. This school year may prove to be even more difficult with new challenges and uncertainties. Kids are likely dealing with a mixed bag of emotions. They may be feeling excited and nervous about returning to in-person learning. They may also still be recovering from the stress of the previous year. Helping children learn positive coping mechanisms to manage emotional stress is just as important as learning English and math skills for academic success.

Over the past year, children may have experienced an increase in adverse childhood experiences. Adverse experiences may include dealing with the pandemic, financial hardships, food insecurity, changes in routine, violence in the home or community, different forms of loss, and mental or emotional challenges. These adverse experiences can contribute to behavior changes that may be atypical for that child, such as an increase of stress and anxiety, lower tolerance levels, withdrawal, or anger and aggression. These behavior changes may show up at home and in the classroom. Adults can help mitigate these behaviors by teaching children methods to reduce stress and anxiety.

When a child is feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or anxious, their brain may trigger a fight, flight, freeze, or submit response. These reactions can take the brain “offline” and focus all its energy to the negative response. This type of reaction can make the child feel "amped up" or "shut down." Adults can help a child experiencing “offline” brain by teaching "rapid reset" coping strategies.

Rapid Reset Strategies

  • Try the "Take-a-Sip" Strategy: Adults can model this strategy by doing it themselves and encouraging the child to join them. Take a sip of water and notice how the water feels in your mouth, in your throat, and how it feels going down. Model the sensations you notice with statements, such as “My water was so cool and refreshing. It helped me feel very relaxed.” Encourage the child to take a sip and share how the water makes them feel and what they notice. This rapid reset tool is based on sensory details called “sensing in.” Because the brain is “offline” and entering survival mode, it responds to physical sensations, such as drinking cool water. This can help calm the nervous system and bring the brain back “online” helping the child deal with the stressor more constructively. This video teaches about this rapid reset and others.
  • Use the H.A.L.T. method: This is a great tool for kids who are experiencing atypical stress and anxiety. Each letter of H.A.L.T. represents an emotion to check, H = Hungry, A = Angry, L = Lonely, and T = Tired. This method helps a child decipher which emotion is triggering their stress: Are they hungry? Are they feeling angry? Are they feeling lonely? or Are they tired? If a child is experiencing one or more of these feelings, they may have less tolerance for seemingly mundane activities, such as completing chores, homework, or other typical tasks, sparking an atypical frustrated response. To learn more on how to use the H.A.L.T. Method, watch this video.

Here are additional ways adults can provide support for a child's social and emotional growth:

  • Check in and ask how they are feeling. Even if you haven’t noticed changes in behavior, checking in helps create connections and trust.
  • Maintain a routine in the home and in the classroom. 
  • Acknowledge changes to norms. This includes changes in daily routines, which can increase a child’s stress or anxiety. Acknowledging these changes can be helpful and supportive during transitions. 
  • Create opportunities for open discussion with children about their experiences, including virtual and in-person learning. Ask them questions about what worked for them, what didn’t, what was fun. This allows them the opportunity to express themselves and feel heard. 
  • Help children explore how they have grown over the past year: not just physically, but in other ways, as well. Helping children recognize how they have matured can increase their self-esteem and confidence.  
  • Model good friendship skills. 
  • Help encourage the friendships that are important to your child.
  • Set up playdates while remaining socially safe.
  • Check in with your child about who their friends are at school.
  • Help your child develop problem-solving and conflict-resolution skills with activities, such as playing a game or watching a show. Talk about a conflict or problem on the show and ask your child how they would handle the situation.
  • Teach and model empathy skills.
  • Encourage your child to make new friendships.
  • Have conversations about kindness.
  • Teach your child about bullying behaviors and what actions they can take when experiencing or witnessing bullying. 
  • Help promote physical and emotional safety.
  • Take care of yourself. Using positive methods to manage your personal stress and anxiety helps you and models positive behaviors for your child.

As you help your child pack their bag of school supplies, help them pack their toolkit of emotional supplies, too. Doing so will help set kids up to successfully deal with  the challenges that come with this school year and other challenges they may face.

Resources:

Social Emotional Learning

Games and Activities

Social-Emotional Health

Activities and Free Courses for Parents

Video: Why Do We Lose Control of Our Emotions?


Featured Poe Program: Dimensions of Wellness

Participants: Adults
Program Length: 1 hr 15 minutes

Building effective wellness strategies can impact every area of our lives. The Dimensions of Wellness is an interactive program that provides ADULTS with the educational tools to manage stress and build a self-care plan. Additionally, this program empowers adults to assist young people with their self-care and coping strategies so they can build emotional resilience as they grow. Topic areas include defining stress, dimensions of wellness, self-care and wellness, building resilience, and tools and resources.

Programs may be presented online and are great for participating from home. Call (919) 231-4006 for details.


 Featured Activity: Make a Calming Jar

Making calming jars is a fun activity and creates a tool for kids to use when they're feeling overwhelmed. Just shake the jar and watch it. There is something very calming about shaking the bottle and watching the glitter or other materials slowly settle.


Bouncing Back: How to Build Resiliency Skills

Bouncing Back: How to Build Resiliency Skills

By Paige Schildkamp, BA, MPH - Health Educator

This year, the Poe Center presented the our first sessions of the Youth Empowerment through Action and Resiliency for Generation Z (YEAR Z) Program Series. This program series covers topics from Poe’s Family Life, Substance Use Prevention, and MindWell Mental Health topic areas, coupled with an introduction to resilience concepts and resiliency-skills practice. 

We’ve said it ourselves and heard it over and over. If there was ever a time that tested our ability to be resilient, this past year was it. Dealing with the difficulties, complications, and sadness brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic has caused stress and hardships for many people worldwide. Young people have not been exempt from this suffering as many continue to experience social isolation and loss. With that in mind, the resiliency skills discussed and practiced in Poe's YEAR Z series are more important now than ever. These are skills that can and should be practiced every year - all year.

Parents are often the most effective instructors for resiliency skills. You are your child's biggest role model. The more resilient and self-regulated you are, the better you’ll be able to help the youth in your life find that same resiliency for themselves. 

Here are a few key resiliency skills that you and your youth can practice together. Some of these you may already be doing, but haven’t thought about them in this way. Some may look familiar, but be called something a different. Some may be totally new to you. Ultimately, everyone is different and what works for you may not work for your youth (and vice versa). Trying these skills and practicing together, until you find and improve on your favorites, is important to developing life-long habits. 

  • Connection: Try to set aside a little time every day, even a few minutes, to check in with each other. This helps creates opportunities for youth to come to you when they need to without it having to be awkward or unordinary. Connection with a trusted adult (or a close friend, if you’re the adult) is a central tenet in successful resiliency.
  • Resource: Find a positive memory that makes you feel good. Use that memory as a mental “escape” when facing a difficult decision or stressful situation. Use your five senses to really sink into that memory's place or time: Who was there with you? What did you see, feel smell, and hear? What are the feelings you had during that memory? Try out this video to get you started.
  • Reset: No matter how prepared you are, there will be times when you get knocked out of your “resilient zone.” That’s ok! Resiliency skills help you "bounce back" and manage your thoughts and feelings so you can feel calmer and focused. Try these "reset" strategies until you find a few that work well for you. 
    • Press your hands or back against a wall or other hard surface.
    • Count backwards from 20.
    • Name six colors that you can see.
    • Use tempo breathing. Try this box-five breathing video
    • Close your eyes and notice the sounds around you.
    • Walk around and focus on your feet as they touch the ground.
    • Rub your hands together and focus on the way it feels.
  • Be Proactive: If you know a certain event or feeling is likely to cause you stress, make a resiliency plan ahead of time: Who can you get in touch with for support? Is there a way to take a break from the situation? What reset skills work best for you? Simply having a plan may be its own source of comfort. Things may not go according to that plan, but you’ll be better equipped to handle stress that does arise. This mini-lesson from the Poe Center explains how certain feelings can cause you to over-react to situations causing them to become stressful and how to manage those moments. 
  • Take Breaks: When you're busy and feeling overwhelmed, this may seem impossible. But taking a break from the stressful activity can really help. Try taking 20 minutes to power nap or walk, listen to some music, stretch, call a friend, meditate, watch a short tv show, or anything else that can help your mind and body a rest.
  • Practice: Practice these skills on your own and together with your youth. Just like any other skill, these take time and effort to learn. You may already be doing some version of these strategies and only need to fine-tune them. Or you may find something new that you love and can add to your resiliency toolbox. 

Follow us on Instagram @Poe_Center for more resiliency tips and ideas from our partner, @WeThinkTwice.

 

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Summer Smiles

Summer Smiles

Alaina Hart, MPH, CHES
Senior Health Educator
Dental Health Program Manager

Summer fun is in full swing, but don’t let tooth decay ruin your plans! Even though your days may be spent enjoying the warm weather or hanging out with family and friends, it is important to remember to keep up with your dental hygiene routine - especially for kiddos. Here are a few reminders for parents to help prevent tooth decay for the little ones.

Keep A Routine

Mother, father, and child brush teeth in the mirror.If you spent a lot more time in the house this past year, like many of us have, it may have been an adjustment to help your kids keep up with their dental hygiene routines, especially if they were used to rolling out of bed and turning on the computer. Now with many businesses and activities open again for the summer, it can be easy for children to get off track with regular brushing and flossing, yet again. The extra time on your hands in the summer is actually a great time to work on brushing and flossing skills. If daily toothbrushing is like "pulling teeth" in your house, here are 3 ways from Colgate to make it fun and more sustainable.

    1.  Brush against the clock: Set a two-minute timer and have a brush party. This not only gives children something to focus on, but it also helps them start to understand how long they should be brushing their teeth.
    2. Brush to your favorite song: Most children have a favorite song that makes them smile when it comes on. Pick a two-minute song to play for kids while they brush their teeth. If the song is longer, use the extra time for a rinse break. There are also many children’s characters that sing songs about brushing. Here are several fun songs to add to your toothbrushing playlist. 
    3. Brush during commercial breaks: If your child has a favorite morning or evening show to watch, commercial breaks allow plenty of time for both brushing and flossing. The average commercial break is between two and three minutes. As soon as the commercial starts, children can head to the bathroom to brush and floss and be back to catch the rest of their show.

Snack Smart

Bowl of fruit, seen from above, sitting on table.

The Poe Center loves teaching about healthy snacking, but we know that summertime can make it tempting to load up on lots of frozen sweet treats. Remember, water (especially if it has fluoride) is always a great first choice to stay cool, hydrated, and keep teeth happy and healthy. If you want to add some excitement to your water, different fruits and herbs, like mint and lemon, add lots of flavor without adding sugar. You can even make your own frozen "popsicle" treats with 100% juice and real fruit. Summer is also a great time to enjoy the many fruits and vegetables that are in season and keep children, who usually like to graze all day, satisfied with healthy choices.

Schedule Appointments Early

Human hand writes reminder "Dentist appointment 11:00" in calendar.

Summer is a great time to schedule your children’s dental appointments to help avoid the back-to-school rush in the fall. Dr. Hayes with the American Dental Association says, “We can help spot and take care of any issues, so your child doesn’t have to miss class once school starts.” Regular visits to the dentist during the summer can also help you avoid dental emergencies, especially while on vacation. 

Although brushing and flossing is important all year long, sometimes children need helpful reminders in the summer. Another great way to motivate children to keep up with their dental hygiene routine is to let them pick out a new toothbrush to kick off the summer season. Keeping these simple reminders handy can help make sure your child’s smile stays bright all summer long. Wishing you a happy, healthy rest of your summer!

Resources:

3 Teeth Brushing Timer Activities for Kids 

3 Tips for Healthy Summer Smiles

Summer Tips

Nutrition Education


Featured Poe Program: Sheriff Tuffy Tooth

Participants: Preschool - 1st grade
Program Length: 30 minutes

Sheriff Tuffy Tooth speaks to kids about the importance of tooth brushing, eating healthy foods, and visiting the dentist. Invite the Sheriff, an animated, talking tooth and his deputy, “Bucky the Horse,” to visit your school or group for a one-of-a-kind experience!

Programs can be presented online and are great for youth and family groups to participate from home. Call (919) 231-4006 for details.


 Featured Activity: Dental Health Videos

How to Floss:

Tooth Brushing Song with a Countdown Timer:

 


Poe’s 30 “Pearls of Wisdom” - In Honor of Poe's 30th Anniversary

Poe’s 30 “Pearls of Wisdom”

Emily Hoover, Intern

30 Visionary Years: Digital Collage representing Poe's program areas and unique features

The Poe Center is celebrating 30 visionary years of health education. Since opening the doors to our one-of-a-kind field trip destination in 1991, Poe has grown into a precious pearl for North Carolina. Pearls grow by creating new and stronger layers year after year. Just like a pearl, Poe has created a stronger healthier North Carolina educating each new generation year after year reaching more than 1.3 million children during the last 30 years. 

To celebrate this special milestone, here are 30 “Pearls of Wisdom” Poe teaches in our programs to build a healthy North Carolina

1. Drink More Water.

Did you know over 60% of your body is made of water? Check out our Drink More Water campaign and facts.

2. Rethink Your Drink. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that “Sugar-Sweetened Beverages (SSB) are the leading sources of added sugar in the American diet.” See more about drinks and how they relate to your health

3. No bees. No food. 

Did you know 70 of the world’s top 100 crops, including almonds, blueberries, and peaches, are pollinated by bees? The Poe Center has three bee hives and an outdoor “pollinator” classroom, made possible with our partnership with Bee Downtown.

4. Stay Active.

Kids need 60 minutes of physical activity every day, and adults need at least 30. Follow #PoeFit on Twitter for tips on keeping you and your family active.

5. Eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables.

Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables. Here are 10 tips on how to eat healthier. Then, check out #PoeFitNutrition on Twitter for regular advice on maintaining a healthy diet.

6. Vaping is not worth the risk.

Studies show that vaping damages the lungs; and its substances, such as nicotine, negatively affect growing brains. The Poe Center offers a Vaping 101 series for 6th-12th graders.

7. Social media and the brain. Know the facts! 

The current generation of adolescents is growing up in a media-saturated world. Research shows social media affects the developing brain. Learn about current research on adolescent brain development and teen risk perception with Poe’s #YouthCulture program: Adolescent Brain Development and the Role of Social Media.

8. Recognize the warning signs of unhealthy relationships 

It is reported that one in three teens will experience dating violence. Find information on the importance of healthy relationships and the dangers of unhealthy ones with Poe programs such as Healthy Relationships 101.

9. Understand the risk of opioids. 

Prescription opioids can be addictive and dangerous. Learn about the scope of the opiate problem and the growing concern of opioid use with Poe’s #YouthCulture series program Opioids 101

10. When it comes to bullying, don’t be a bystander.

Adults, parents, school staff, and kids can work together to prevent bullying. See Poe’s Bullying Prevention programs and resources.

11. Brush your teeth two times a day.

Tooth decay is one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood. Check out Poe’s Dental Health programs and resources.

12. Foster healthy friendships. 

At any stage in life, friendship is something to cherish. The Poe Center works to help children recognize healthy friendships through the program Friend Power.

13. Lock your meds.

Prescription drugs and household chemicals can be dangerous for members of your home. Ensure safety in your home by checking out Poe’s online Medicine Safety exhibit.

14. Connect with your cranium.

Did you know your brain weighs about three pounds and controls just about everything you do, even when sleeping? Learn about the different parts of the brain and what they do with our Cranium Connection exhibit and resources. 

15. Cook with your family.

Cooking and kitchen skills can help develop better food choices, preferences, attitudes, and behaviors, positively affecting children’s health and long-term health outcomes as they grow. Check out our virtual CookWELL kitchen, programs, and resources.

16. Compost, compost, compost.

Don’t waste your food scraps! Learn to use food waste to enrich your garden. See the composting section in Poe’s kitchen and cooking resources.

17. Grow your own food.

Gardening can be a valuable activity that promotes positive lifelong health outcomes. Check out Poe's GrowWELL garden programs.

18. Recycle!

Properly recycling milk jugs, water bottles, egg cartons, and other common household items is an easy way to positively impact the planet. Learn more with these recycling resources.

19. Reduce your risk of foodborne illness.

Maintaining home refrigerators at 40°F or below is one of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of foodborne illness. Store fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, and dairy products properly so they stay fresh and no one gets sick. 

Check out these refrigeration and food safety tips.

20. Wash your hands.

Handwashing is more important than ever. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water to properly get rid of germs. If you have kids, make handwashing a fun part of their daily routine by singing the birthday song each time you wash. 

Watch the Poe Center's video on proper hand washing, and visit our website for information on Poe’s GermBusters program for 2nd and 3rd graders.

21. Learn to make a few simple nutritious meals and snacks. 

Having a few go-to nutritious recipes makes it easier to plan and cook healthy meals. Download some of Poe's favorite recipes.

22. Talk to your kids about puberty.

Poe's popular Girl Talk/Guy Talk parent-child workshops are designed to help facilitate positive open communication about adolescent development and the changes boys and girls experience during puberty. Visit our calendar to see our upcoming events.

23. Go outside and play.

North Carolina is filled with wonderful parks and play spaces for you to go. Take your family, go by yourself, and get some fresh air. 

WakeMED and the Poe Center worked together to create a one-of-a-kind health education play space located at Poe’s facility. Check out WakeMED’s PlayWELL Park.

24. Tap into the power of positivity. 

Choosing a positive approach to life is proven to have long-term health benefits and outcomes. Read these 10 tips for increasing positivity and reducing stress.

25. Develop a stress management plan.

Stress is a natural part of life. Developing healthy ways to cope with stress helps you and creates a good example for the teens and youth in your life. The Center for Parent and Teen Communication has a great resource to help your teen build a stress management plan.

26. Be resilient and cope with stress.

Every day presents new challenges, especially during a global pandemic. Stress can be hard to cope with. Learn more about coping with stress during COVID-19.

27. Reduce the risk of addiction.  

Alcoholics Anonymous of NC reports that more than 450,000 individuals suffer from alcohol addiction or abuse in North Carolina every year. Almost 40,000 of these people are teenagers. 

Check out Poe's Substance Use Prevention programs.

28. Prepare your daughter for college. 

College freshman year is full of new situations that put young women at risk for adverse health outcomes. Gain helpful insights and resources with Girl Talk 3, a workshop for moms and daughters preparing for college. Learn about campus safety, binge drinking, peer pressure, and more with this program coming to the Poe Center soon!  

29. Parents you matter! 

Parents are the biggest influence on their children’s education and health choices. Poe has programs geared towards adults and parents. Click on the “adults” option for a list of programs specifically for you.

30. Celebrate the Poe Center’s legacy!

North Carolina artist Nicholas Bragg created a one-of-a-kind commemorative mural which captures Poe’s past, present, and future within the context of world history. Located just inside the front doors of the Poe Center, the mural, entitled “A Celebration of the Alice Aycock Poe Center for Health Education," welcomes all visitors. You can also visit an interactive online version of the mural.

 

Learn more about how the Poe Center is celebrating its 30th Anniversary.


Have Safe Fun in the Hot Sun!

Have Safe Fun in the Hot Sun!

By Katie Barker and Will Florence, Health educators

Looking to have some fun this summer - safely? We have a few tips for staying safe out in the heat this summer. 

At the beach: Being at the beach or pool is a great way to get your family active and stay cool during the summer. Plus, swimming is a great way to encourage your kids’ imagination. Challenge kids to swim like a mermaid or an octopus.  It’s also important to keep these tips in mind while enjoying the cool water.

  • Teach children not to swim alone, even if they are strong swimmers.
  • Keep younger children within an arm’s reach of an adult, and always make sure an adult is supervising older children. 
  • Wear “coast-guard-certified” life vests when needed, such as during boating (floaties, water wings, etc. are not a sufficient substitute).
  • Skip breath-holding games because these can lead to hyperventilation.
  • Avoid pool drains that can potentially trap bathing suits or hair with their suction.
  • Avoid swallowing water while swimming as it may contain germs.
  • Check the depth of the water before diving.  Look for signs at the pool that say “no diving,” which will indicate the water is not deep enough.
  • Walk carefully around the edge of the pool to avoid slips and falls.
  • Bring a healthy snack and drink water, as swimming takes a lot of energy.

On a hike or playing outside: Hiking is another great family activity.  Let your kids “lead” the adventure as you walk along the path. Keep these safety tips in mind: 

  • Avoid poison ivy, oak and sumac, and wild parsnips.
    • “Leaves of three, let them be.” Poison ivy leaves always appear in bunches of 3’s. 
    • “Longer middle stem, don’t touch them.” The middle leaf typically has a longer stem.
    • “Hairy vine, no friend of mine.” During the leafless season, poison ivy can be found on tree trunks, rocks, and other structures with a hairy vine.
    • Remember, these leaves are quite glossy and edges are smoothed or toothed.
    • Leaf colors can vary from red in the spring and summer, to yellows and oranges in the fall.
  • Look out for snakes.
    • “Red on yellow, dangerous fellow; red on black, friend of Jack.” This is a good way to remember which snakes are poisonous. However, stay aware of other snakes which are poisonous that have neither red nor yellow markings, such as copperheads.
    • It is best to avoid snakes altogether and teach children to alert an adult if a snake is spotted.
    • Avoid reaching under areas where one cannot see, such as underneath rocks or woodpiles. Snakes and spiders like to hide under these types of places.
  • Beware of ticks
    • Ticks can hide in children’s hair and can move to areas under clothing. 
    • Be sure to have an adult check for ticks after playing in wooded areas.  If a tick is identified, use tweezers to remove it and wash the area with soap and water.
  • Be friendly with bees.
    • Children should not try to swat or shoo away bees, wasps, hornets, or yellow jackets.
    • Move away from bees or hornets if spotted. 
    • If stung, scrape stinger away with fingernail or credit card. DO NOT use tweezers as the stinger can burst under the skin and cause more damage.
      • Wash with soap and cool water.
      • Apply an ice pack or cold cloth and cover with lotion.
      • Seek medical attention if there are changes in breathing, vomiting, or fever that occurs.
  • Watch your step for fire ants.

In the sun: Enjoy the sunshine and soak up some Vitamin D this summer.  Keep these tips in mind to take care of your skin.  It’s our largest organ.

  • Limit sun exposure between 10 A.M. and 4 P.M. when sun UV rays are strongest.
  • Regularly apply sunscreen, and re-apply throughout the day.
    • Choose a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher, and for best results, use broad-spectrum sunscreen which cancels out both UVB and UVA rays. 
    • It is important to remember that sun rays can still be absorbed on both cloudy and sunny days. So wear sunscreen even on overcast days.
    • Apply to any areas that are exposed, such as the face (eyes, ears, nose), arms, feet, and legs.
    • Sunscreen should be applied at least 30 minutes before exposure to the sun so it has time to absorb and be reapplied every hour or more frequently if in water.
  • Choose sunglasses that are 99% UV radiation resistant and shatter-resistant.
  • Try wearing a hat with a brim to shield your face from excessive UV rays.

Resources:

How to Recognize and Avoid Poison Ivy: Three Sayings to Remember

Caring For Our Children: Health Promotion and Protection, Sun Safety


Featured Poe Program: Summertime Safety

Participants: Kindergarten - 5th
Program Length: 45 minutes

Safe outdoor fun is the focus of this program. Children learn about protection from the sun, signs of overheating and dehydration, safe warm weather exercise and nutrition, poisonous plants, bug bites, and more. Be active, stay safe, and have safe fun in the hot sun.

Programs can be presented online and are great for youth and family groups to participate from home. Call (919) 231-4006 for details.


 Featured Activity: Summertime Safety Videos

Poison Ivy Safety:

Water Safety:

Bug Safety:


Honoring National Prevention Week 2021

Honoring National Prevention Week 2021

By Tamika Gilchrist, Senior Substance Use Prevention Specialist 

What is National Prevention Week (NPW)?

NPW is an annual health observance dedicated to increasing public awareness and action around substance use prevention and the promotion of positive mental health. This year, this national initiative, sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), will take place May 9th-15th.

Why is prevention so important?

Prevention is important because it delays the onset of the first use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs. This ultimately protects the growing brain and body during adolescence. Prevention also contributes to positive health behaviors and healthy lifestyles. Each year, NPW incorporates daily health themes to focus on pressing substance use topics. These themes are highlighted this week to increase awareness but the conversations need to be ongoing to support the health and wellness of our families and our communities. The 2021 daily health themes are:

Monday: Preventing Prescription Drug and Opioid Misuse

Securing and monitoring medications supports proper medication use by intended users and prevent unintentional access and misuse. Here are a few tips to help secure and monitor medications in the home:

  • Use a medication lock box or pouch.
  • Use a locked cabinet.
  • Use a locked closet.
  • Keep out of reach of others.
  • Count and make sure you follow all instructions for the medication.

Disposing of unused and expired medications from the home also prevents unintentional access and misuse. Proper disposal prevents unintended access and is safer for the environment by preventing medication from entering water sources. Here are a few tips to help dispose of medications properly:

  • Find a secure, locked drop box in your community or take the medication to your local pharmacy and ask them to dispose of it properly.
  • Use a medication disposable bag (deactivation kit).
  • Avoid flushing medication down the toilet or in the sink.
  • Avoid disposing of medication in the trash can unless using a deactivation kit.
  • Never give your medication to anyone else. The medication is prescribed and/or recommended for you according to your medical needs.

For Information on Drop-Off Locations:

Wake County: Find a dropbox. | Across North Carolina:  Maps of locations For more information: Visit www.lockyourmeds.org/NC

Tuesday: Preventing Underage Drinking and Alcohol Misuse

Alcohol is the most-used substance and the leading cause of death among youth in the United States. More teens die as a result of alcohol use than all other illicit drugs combined. In North Carolina, 12% of teens had their first drink of alcohol before the age of 13. If you are wondering how you as a parent, caregiver, and other adults can do to prevent underage drinking and alcohol misuse, keep reading! 

Ongoing conversations around the dangers of alcohol and other drugs are needed. Using the opportunities of everyday life as reasons to naturally bring up the conversation is vital. Demonstrate that you are a great source to receive information, show that you care about their wellbeing and growth, and help build their skills to avoid alcohol and other drug use. Utilizing role-play scenarios to practice creative ways to refuse or say “no” to being offered alcohol can help build the confidence and skills to abstain from alcohol consumption. 

Check out this video for ideas on how to start the conversation. For more information on how to talk to the children and youth in your life, visit Talk. They Hear You and download the app for interactive scenarios and tips. 

Talk it Up! Lock it Up!TM is an innovative strategy to change the physical environment relative to youth access to alcohol in homes. If you have alcohol in your home, ensure it is secured to prevent easy access by youth. Here are a few tips:

  • Monitor the alcohol that is in your home by taking inventory and being aware of the amount and types of alcohol available. 
  • Ensure alcohol in the home is not easily accessible. Secure alcohol by placing it in a locked cabinet or closet. If you have a fridge for wine or beer, consider adding a fridge lock. Cabinet locks and fridge locks can be purchased at your local hardware store or online.

Take the pledge to Talk It Up. Lock It Up!™ and encourage others to take the pledge and start the conversation today!

Wednesday: Preventing Illicit Drug Use and Youth Marijuana Use

According to the National Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), in 2019, 36.8% of youth reported ever use of marijuana. 21.7% of youth reported current marijuana use (one or more times during the 30 days before the survey). Marijuana use has short-and-long-term effects on the brain. In addition to a wide range of effects physically and mentally. 

The YRBS report also showed that 3.9% of youth have ever used cocaine and 7.0% of youth have ever used a hallucinogenic drug such as LSD at least one or more times during their life. Many illicit drugs pose major health risks and can cause addiction after a single use. Illicit drug use can impose short-and-long-term consequences including damage to relationships and friendships, lack of motivation to maintain grades in school, legal consequences, and death. It is important to be up to date on drug trends and facts. NIDA for Teens, SAMHSA's Tips for Teens, and the Poe Center for Health Education are all great resources to utilize.

Thursday: Preventing Youth Tobacco Use (E-cigarettes and Vaping)

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that due to e-cigarette/vaping use, thousands of people in the U.S. have been hospitalized with serious lung injuries. As of February 2020, 68 deaths have been confirmed in 29 states and the District of Columbia. There are more deaths under investigation. 

Quitline: By phone: 1-800-QUITNOW (1-800-784-8669) | Online: QuitlineNC.com, | Quitline Resources during COVID-19

Text to quit vaping: Text DITCHJULL to 88709

Friday: Preventing Suicide

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. It was responsible for more than 47,500 deaths in 2019, which is about one death every 11 minutes. Warning signs for suicide include:

  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain.
  • Talking about being a burden to others.
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs.
  • Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly.
  • Sleeping too little or too much.
  • Withdrawing or feeling isolated.
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge.
  • Displaying extreme mood swings.

Protective factors are personal or environmental characteristics that help protect people from suicide. According to the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, major protective factors for suicide include:

  • Effective behavioral health care.
  • Connectedness to individuals, family, community, and social institutions.
  • Life skills (including problem-solving skills and coping skills, ability to adapt to change).
  • Self-esteem and a sense of purpose or meaning in life.
  • Cultural, religious, or personal beliefs that discourage suicide.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Both resources are free and confidential: 1-800-273-TALK | Online Lifeline Crisis Chat


 Resources for Prevention Week:

SAMSHA’s National Prevention Week 2021 - Learn more about National Prevention Week
CDC.gov/suicide/facts - Learn more about how suicide affects us.
SAMHSA. Talk They Hear You. - More about underage drinking and preventing it.
QuitlineNC.com - Quit smoking or vaping today.
LockYourMedsNC - Lock up your medications or find a drop-off location.
Trends in Prevalence of Marijuana, Cocaine, and other Illegal drug use National YRBS

 


 Featured Poe Program: For the Health of It!

Participants: 6th - 8th
Program Length: 60 minutes

Participants will discover how using drugs and alcohol can damage their brains and bodies. This program is centered around interactive activities that focus on “showing and not telling” kids how their brains are affected by alcohol and drug (inhalants, marijuana) use. Real-life scenarios are used to help participants analyze how a “drugged” brain affects their actions and decision-making skills. Participants will also engage in role-play, reinforcing refusal skills.

Programs can be presented online and are great for youth and family groups to participate from home. Call (919) 231-4006 for details.


Preventing Tobacco Use in the Age of COVID-19

Preventing Tobacco Use in the Age of COVID-19

By Susan Foster, CPS

In March of 2020, our community was planning the second Wake County Tobacco-Free Community Forum to educate, engage and empower youth, parents/caregivers, and leaders to reduce tobacco’s negative impact. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, we had to put the event on hold. This past year has brought so much change and a heightened focus on how to keep our communities healthy. Now, in 2021, our community is coming back together, online, in a youth-led discussion to continue the conversation about tobacco use prevention, which is now even more important. 

Click to view full graphic

The Wake County Tobacco-Free Community Forum is going to bring together information and partners to explore prevention efforts and keep those efforts strong in the age of COVID-19. As we have lived more than a year in the midst of the pandemic, we appreciate even more how important it is to keep our lungs and body healthy and ready to fight disease. The medical community has shared their concern that the use of nicotine products can make someone more vulnerable and less likely to fight the COVID-19 virus. 

Right before the virus came into our lives, we were already tracking the emerging cases of severe lung disease linked to vaping nicotine and THC/marijuana-laced products. The Center for Disease Control reports that due to e-cigarette/vaping use, thousands of people in the U.S. have been hospitalized with serious lung injuries, over 64 people had died, and more deaths were under investigation. Therefore, a real concern that vaping or smoking could make someone more vulnerable to the damaging effects of the COVID-19 was becoming clear. According to Dr. Nora Volkow, Director of the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse, “because it attacks the lungs, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 could be an especially serious threat to those who smoke tobacco or marijuana or who vape. Vaping, like smoking, may also harm lung health. Whether it can lead to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is still unknown, but emerging evidence suggests that exposure to aerosols from e-cigarettes harms the cells of the lung and diminishes the ability to respond to infection.” (Source).  The results of the 2020 Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey of drug use and attitudes in middle and high school students, revealed encouraging news about the alarming rises in teen vaping both of nicotine and marijuana seen in prior years had not increased but had actually leveled off this past year, although use still remains high

This is the time to strengthen the body to fight disease, and a time to strengthen our prevention, policy, and treatment efforts to ensure the best outcome for our youth and our community. The Surgeon General recommends that you “give your lungs the best chance at fighting not only COVID-19 but all respiratory diseases.” To give yourself the best chance now is the time to quit vaping and not to start. The Poe Center is so proud of the work our Youth Empowerment teams have been doing during the pandemic to ensure these important messages are still getting out. 

The Poe Center Youth Empowerment teams include dedicated middle and high school students who care about substance use prevention in their community and work with Poe staff to create awareness and action on the issue. These youth leaders will be guiding the discussion at the annual Wake County Tobacco-Free Community Forum, in partnership with the Wake County Public School System, the Wake County PTA Council, Wake County Human Services, and the American Heart Association. Please join the discussion and be inspired by our youth leaders as we work together for a healthier community. 

Learn more & attend the Forum

Resources:

2020 Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey

COVID-19: Potential Implications for Individuals with Substance Use Disorders, NIH


 Resources for Quitting Vaping:

Quitline:

By phone: 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669)
Online: QuitlineNC.com
Quitline Resources during COVID-19

Text to quit vaping:

Text DITCHJULL to 88709

Does your child vape? Learn more:
Fight flavored e-cigarettes resources for parents


 Featured Poe Program: Vaping 101 - Online

Participants: 6th - 12th
Program Length: 60 minutes

Vaping 101 educates students on the latest research about the addictive nature of nicotine and how it impacts their growing brain and body. This program will cover important resources and skills to empower healthy decision-making to navigate this and other substance use issues. Students will be engaged in a  group game format, videos, and discussion. 

Programs can be presented online and are great for youth and family groups to participate from home. Call (919) 231-4006 for details.


Opening the Door to Conversations this April - Alcohol Awareness Month

Opening the Door to Conversations this April 

By Virginia Johnson, CPS

Although there are many theories behind the naming of the month April, one common thought is that "April" is derived from the Latin word Aprilis, meaning to open. April is the time of year for flowers and windows to open as the air fills with warmer temps and the smells of spring.  

April is also the time of year to open the door to conversations with the youths in our lives about the effects of alcohol. April is Alcohol Awareness Month, a national public health awareness campaign sponsored by the National Council for Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD). 

Why is Alcohol Awareness Important?

Alcohol is the most-used substance by youth and adults in the United States. According to the National Institute of Health’s 2020 Monitoring the Future Survey, 55.3% of high school seniors used alcohol in the past year. In North Carolina, 12% of teens had their first drink of alcohol before the age of 13. More teens die as a result of alcohol use than all other illicit drugs combined. In North Carolina, one person dies every week as a result of underage drinking. More than one-third of teen traffic deaths are alcohol-related. Even non-drinking teens are at risk if they get into a car with an alcohol-impaired driver. In the 2019 YRBS survey, 15.9% of Wake County High School freshmen reported riding in a car with someone who had been drinking.  

Underage drinking is a problem that must be addressed and not viewed as "just a phase" that teens go through. Since the human brain is not fully developed until age 25, teens who start drinking before age 15 years are 40% more likely to develop alcohol dependence. Alcohol is the third leading cause of preventable death in the United States and alcohol use among children is strongly correlated with other dangers including violence, poor academic performance, high-risk sexual behaviors, and arrests.

So what can parents do? Talk It Up. 

Even though they may not show it on a regular basis, teens want parents/caregivers to set clear guidelines and expectations. It is important to talk to youth about the dangers of alcohol and other drugs, and about your values as a family. Considering that most children have seen adults drinking alcohol on TV or in real life before they start kindergarten and that by 8th grade, the majority of teens have favorable attitudes towards alcohol consumption (YRBS, 2019), it is never too early to begin the conversation. It is important to talk to the children and youth in your life about the dangers of underage drinking and your clear expectations around the use of alcohol.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration recommends these tips when talking to youth about alcohol:

  • Let them know you disapprove of underage drinking and other drug misuse.
  • Show you care about their health, wellness, and success.
  • Demonstrate that you are a good source of information about alcohol and other drugs.
  • Pay attention and listen. 
  • Build their skills and strategies for avoiding drinking and other drug use.

The conversation around alcohol needs to be ongoing. Use the opportunities of everyday life as reasons to naturally bring up the conversation. If driving down the road and a song comes on the radio about alcohol, take the opportunity for a teachable moment. If watching a TV show and a character is offered a drink, ask what are the options someone has in that situation. Roleplay the situation and practice creative ways to say “no” when offered alcohol. This will build confidence in their skills and ability to abstain from consuming alcohol.

Check out this video for ideas on how to start the conversation. For more information on how to talk to the children and youth in your life, visit Talk. They Hear You and download the app for interactive scenarios and tips.  

What else can parents, caregivers, and other adults do? Lock It Up! 

The home is the number one place youth access alcohol. It’s important to monitor and secure alcohol in the home. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, alcohol sales have increased by 40%. That is 40% more alcohol available in the very place youth access it most frequently. Alcohol awareness and prevention are more important now than ever. If you have alcohol in your home, ensure it is secured to prevent easy access by youth. 

  • Monitor the alcohol that is in your home by taking inventory and being aware of the amount and types of alcohol available. 
  • Ensure alcohol in the home is not easily accessible. Secure alcohol by placing it in a locked cabinet or closet. If you have a fridge for wine or beer, consider adding a fridge lock. Cabinet locks and fridge locks can be purchased at your local hardware store or online.

Another quick tip, if you drink alcohol, model responsible drinking. It is important for youth to see the adults in their lives that they look up to modeling responsible drinking. As adults, we can promote responsible drinking by following the 0-1-2 alcohol consumption guidelines (2021-2025 Dietary Guidelines):

  • 0 Drinks if you are under age 21, pregnant, driving, or in treatment or recovery for alcohol addiction.
  • 1 Standard Drink limit per day for women.
  • 2 Standard Drink limit per day for men.

It is important to remember that a standard drink is one 12-ounce beer (5% alcohol content), 8 ounces of malt liquor (7% alcohol content), 5 ounces of wine (12% alcohol content), or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof (40% alcohol content) distilled spirits. Many mixed beverages may contain 2-3 standard drinks. 

In closing, enjoy the beautiful April weather and open the door for conversations with the youth in your life on the effects of underage drinking and your expectations. Take the pledge to Talk It Up. Lock It Up! and encourage others to take the pledge and start the conversations with your child today. 

References:


 Featured Poe Activity: Take the Talk It Up. Lock It Up!™ Pledge

You can start making a plan to Talk It Up. Lock It Up!™ by taking the pledge. Sign today!


 Featured Poe Program:#YouthCulture Series

Participants: Adults
Program Length: 2-hour workshop

This program also offers a youth component to each session. Ask us about this!

The Poe Center’s #YouthCulture program is designed to empower parents and guardians by providing insight into the environment and culture around our youth. This 2-hour workshop explores how the developing adolescent brain shapes perceptions and behavior. All participants will receive a free packet of supportive materials and resources. Covered topics will include substance use, Internet safety, sexting, and healthy dating relationships. In addition, we will explore ways to enhance parent-child communication.

Poe's Spring #YouthCulture workshop series still has openings in our remaining sessions. Sign up here. 

Programs can be presented online and are great for youth and family groups to participate from home. Call (919) 231-4006 for details.


Personalize Your Plate: Grow What You Eat!

Personalize Your Plate: Grow What You Eat!

Catherine Wills
Assistant Garden Specialist

National Nutrition Month 2021 Blogger Badge

March is National Nutrition Month! During this month, everyone is encouraged to learn about making informed food choices and developing healthy eating habits. This year's theme is "Personalize Your Plate." We are all unique with different bodies, goals, backgrounds, and tastes. We can continue to personalize our plates by growing our favorite fruits, vegetables, and herbs. In celebration of National Nutrition Month, here are some fruits, vegetables, and herbs that you can grow to personalize your plate! 

Carrots

carrot in the groundPlanting carrots can be easy and rewarding. Carrots can be planted in early spring or late summer. When planting carrots, it is best to sow the seeds directly into amended soil that has been amended with organic material, such as compost. In about 80, days you’ll have incredible carrots in a wide array of colors and sizes to enjoy!

Carrots provide a lot of vitamins and nutrients, including vitamin A and C. Vitamin A keeps our eyes working, our immune system strong, and our cells growing. Vitamin C keeps our immune system strong and helps our bodies heal quickly. 

Work carrots into your meals. Start by trying this recipe for a yummy carrot salad. This salad is tart and savory and works as a slaw or as a snack. Carrot Salad Recipe

Peppers

Small red bell peppers or capsicum growing on a plant outdoors in a garden, close up viewYou won’t be disappointed when you grow peppers!  Peppers grow best in the summer months. When planting peppers, sow the seeds inside and transplant the seedlings into amended soil when the plant is strong enough. Peppers are typically ready to enjoy around 80 days after transplanting them into the ground.

Peppers also provide a lot of vitamins and nutrients, including B vitamins, vitamin K, and fiber. B vitamins help our cells grow and stay healthy. Vitamin K helps our bodies heal quickly. Fiber helps with healthy digestion and keeps us feeling full.  Eating enough fiber has been shown to keep our hearts healthy, too.

Looking for a creative way to use your peppers? Try this recipe for roasted peppers. These flavorful roasted peppers are stored in a jar and can be used on sandwiches, in pasta, or just for munching. Roasted Peppers Recipe

Basil

One of the easiest herbs to grow is basil. Basil typically is grown in the spring and summer months and can be directly planted into amended soil. In 30 days, you can enjoy an endless supply of basil leaves until frost. 

Basil provides nutrients, such as calcium and magnesium. Calcium helps form and maintain healthy teeth and bones. Magnesium helps with muscle and nerve function, blood sugar levels, and blood pressure. 

Want to introduce basil into your family's diet? Try this tasty pesto pasta, sure to be a favorite with the kids and the adults: Pesto Pasta Recipe

Growing Tips

Kids in the garden gather around a plant being placed in the ground by an adult. When planting fruits, vegetables, and herbs, it is important to remember these tips:

  • Plants need well-drained, nutrient-rich soil. Adding compost to your soil will enhance and provide more nutrients to the soil. 
  • Spacing is important when planting. Think about the size your plant will mature to when you plant seeds. Check the planting instructions on your seed packet before planting.
  • Make sure your seedlings and plants have access to 6-8 hours of sunlight.
  • Watering is essential for growing plants. Here’s some more information about watering your plants. For more sustainable watering, consider collecting water. 
  • Remember, some plants do better when it’s hot and others when it’s cold. Make sure to protect your plants from extreme temperatures. 

Looking for more resources about growing your own food? The Poe Center offers a wide range of gardening resources:

  • Visit the Poe Center's online interactive garden. The Poe & Grow Garden is a beautiful illustration of seasonal gardening. Click through the various images to learn more about building and caring for your own garden.
  • Follow the Poe Center's weekly nutrition and physical activity tweet series, #PoeFit. Each week, Poe's expert health educators offer simple tips and information on gardening, eating healthy, and staying active.
  • Watch the Poe Center's mini-lessons on home gardening. Short how-to videos are available here.
  • Plan a program in the Poe Center's onsite teaching garden. Complete with raised beds, accessible paths, a gorgeous teaching mural, and a new apiary, the GrowWELL Garden programs focus on connections between edible gardening and nutrition while students learn about growing fruits and vegetables, why pollinators matter, how to compost, and the science of plants.

Resources:

Nation Nutrition Month
NC Planting Guide
Eat Fresh - Discover Foods
Chop Chop Recipes
Poe Garden Resources
NC State Vegetable Gardening: A Beginner's Guide
National Gardening Association


 Featured Poe Video: Making Roasted Veggies

So many beautiful, nutritious vegetables grow in North Carolina soil. Maybe you've harvested veggies from your garden or a community garden, or maybe you've taken a trip to the farmers' market or grocery store. No matter where you get your veggies, this recipe for roasted veggies is a classic easy way to prepare any vegetable. Vegetables come out of the oven flavorful, bright, and make a perfect addition to any meal. Learn how with Poe Center health educator Kristie:


 Featured Poe Program: Eat the Rainbow

Participants: 3rd - 8th grades
Program Length: 45 - 60 min

Fresh farmers market fruit and vegetable produce from aboveStudents will learn how fruits and vegetables provide varied nutrients for their bodies. Additionally, they will discover how each color relates to a different nutritional benefit using the scientific concept of phytonutrients (pigments responsible for the color of fruits and vegetables) and how this concept connects to their broader lives. This is an interactive experience, as students will engage and work in pairs through a series of group learning activities.
Meets Essential Standards: Grades 3 – 5: 3.NPA.2.1, 3.L.2, 4.L.2, 5.L.2;  Grades 6 – 8: 6.L.1, 6.L.2, 8.L.5

Programs can be presented online and are great for youth and family groups to participate from home. Call (919) 231-4006 for details.


Stop Before You Pop! Rethink your Drink for a Healthy Smile

Stop Before You Pop! Rethink your Drink for a Healthy Smile

Alaina Hart, MPH, CHES
Senior Health Educator
Dental Health Theater Manager

For many people, there is nothing like an ice-cold soda to “quench” your thirst on a hot day or a hot chocolate to warm you up on a cold evening. When it comes to taking care of our teeth and the rest of our bodies, sometimes we tend to focus on the foods we eat and forget what we drink is just as important. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that “Sugar-Sweetened Beverages (SSB) are the leading sources of added sugar in the American diet.” SSB such as sodas, fruit-flavored juices, sports drinks, and sweetened coffees or tea can also have serious effects on your teeth. Why does it matter? The sugar and acid in many of these types of drinks break down the hard, protective, outer layer of teeth called enamel. When the enamel breaks down, cavities can form. As we celebrate Children's Dental Health Month, let’s talk about three key things to keep in mind when rethinking what you drink for a healthy smile.

Choose water.

You've likely heard that water is the best choice for a body healthy. Drinking water helps your teeth for specific reasons. When it comes from a safe source, drinking tap water helps protect your teeth from cavities, with a mineral called fluoride. Fluoride can also be found in most toothpaste.

Drinking plain water also helps to wash away leftover foods and cavity-causing bacteria left on teeth, leaving your mouth a little cleaner after you eat. 

Read the fine print on “healthy” drinks.

If eliminating all sugary drinks from your diet is challenging, start small by taking a closer look at the sugars in your favorite SSB. Checking the sugar on the nutrition facts label of your drinks can help you when comparing drink options, especially those that claim to be healthy. Even if it’s made with 100% fruit juice, juices and smoothies tend to be higher in sugar and calories when compared to eating the actual fruit. You may be surprised to find that one glass of fruit juice can have almost as much sugar as a glass of soda. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under one should not have fruit juice at all and children ages 7-18 years old should limit juice to eight ounces or one cup a day. For adults, the USDA suggests that sugar makes up no more than 10% of your daily diet or about 12 teaspoons for a 2,000 calorie diet.

Sports drinks are meant to help replenish important fluids lost during intense exercise. Many sports drinks contain vitamins and carbohydrates in the form of sugar. For non-athletes, sports drinks are just another sugary drink. Research has shown that drinking too many of these drinks, especially when not involved with high-intensity exercise, can lead to a higher risk of health problems, including dental cavities. When participating in regular exercise, water is the best choice to stay hydrated and maintain physical endurance.

Start Small

Cutting out sweet tea or your favorite soda all together can be a challenge, and making a lasting change does not happen overnight. Start with small changes to the drinks you already enjoy. You can add flavor to your drinks without adding all the sugar. Flavoring water with fruits or adding a splash of 100% juice to sparkling water keeps some of the bubbles and flavor you may look for from sodas and juices. Also, try slowly reducing the amount of sugar and flavored creams you add to coffees and teas until you can eliminate them completely. These changes can help make the transition to drinking fewer SSB’s a little easier, while still enjoying what you like. 

Remembering these tips as you continue making healthy choices about what to drink does not excuse you from keeping up with your oral-hygiene routine. Brush your teeth at least two times a day for two minutes. Floss at least once a day, and if you are able, visit the dentist for check-ups twice a year. Making healthy choices about what you drink can have lasting benefits not just for your teeth, but for your entire body.

Resources:

Get the Facts: Sugar-Sweetened Beverages and Consumption

4 Reasons Water Is the Best Beverage for Your Teeth

Fruit Juice and Your Child's Diet

Sports Drinks and Health


 Featured Poe Video: Terrific Teeth Tuesdays

Originally aired on Terrific Teeth Tuesdays, join Ms. Alaina at the Poe Center for a lesson about keeping your teeth healthy.

Learn about healthy snacks, calcium, keeping teeth clean, and more! Marshall Molar from Delta Dental joins Ms. Alaina on this terrific tour of tooth health.


 Featured Poe Program: Super Smiles Online

Participants: Ages Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
Program Length: 45 min

Super Smiles Online is an all-inclusive dental program for participants in Kindergarten - 3rd grade. In this program, Poe's health educators cover the importance of brushing and flossing, primary vs. permanent teeth, what a dentist does at a regular visit, and how cavities form and tips on how to prevent them.

Programs can be presented online and are great for youth and family groups to participate from home. Call (919) 231-4006 for details.