Monday, December 23, 2013

The importance of flossing and the right way to do it

Do you visit the dentist regularly? Most people go to the dentist only when they have a problem with their teeth. Like any other check up, dental checks are important. The mouth can be a harbinger for things to come. Every dentist will stress the need for flossing, but few patients actually follow it. There is also a right way to floss. Flossing is not just about removing debris from the mouth. It is also to prevent the buildup of bacteria.

Why floss? 

People do not understand the importance of flossing. They brush their teeth twice a day, and feel that they are doing everything right to make sure that their teeth is clean. But what they don’t realize is that brushing the teeth with a toothbrush, cleans only the outer exposed surfaces of the teeth. The teeth are individual pieces with gaps between them. This space between the teeth needs to be cleaned too. You will find ads that say, a toothbrush or toothpaste is designed in such a way that it takes care of the space between the teeth. Maybe, some do to an extent, but nothing can take the place of flossing. Flossing takes care of interdental space.

How the different procedures for your tooth work 

The toothbrush removes plaque which is a bacterial film that covers the open surfaces of the teeth. Toothpaste adds and enhances that, because it contains fluoride that helps decrease the amount of bacteria in your mouth. A mouthwash also helps avoid bacteria, and like the toothbrush can partially remove the bacteria from the interdental cavity. To round it off, flossing must be done to ensure that your teeth are white and shiny and free from bacteria.

Gum protection 

The tartar and plaque buildup not only looks ugly, gives off a bad odor but also creates a buildup of bacteria. When you floss as often as you brush, this build up is prevented. If you let the bacteria build up, it could lead to inflammation and swelling off the gums and in the worst case scenario, you may end up with cavities, and the tooth may have to be extracted.

What is the Right Way to Floss? 

To floss the right way, here are some tips

  1. Take out 18 inches of floss, wind one end of the floss around the middle fingers of both hands, leaving a stretch of floss between them to use. 
  1. Stretch the piece of floss string between your two fingers tightly. 
  1. Now slide it into the interdental area and move it up and down. 
  1. Curve the floss under the base of each tooth, making sure that it reaches below the gum line. 
  1. Now move it between the teeth around the gum line 
  1. This must be done gently as the gums are sensitive and could get cut or bruised if flossed forcefully. 
  1. As you finish each area, wind the used floss around one middle finger while unwinding a bit of clean floss from the other middle finger. 
  1. What kind of floss should you use? 
There are nylon and PTFE floss. Nylon is available in a waxed form or unwaxed and comes in different flavors. The one drawback is that the nylon is made of thinner, smaller stands that may tear or break when you are flossing. PTFE floss is more expensive, but is made of a single filament that is easier to use.

If you are still unsure about how exactly to use the floss, consult your dentist. He will show you how to use the floss correctly. Floss everyday and keep the dentist away!!


Common causes for asthma

Asthma is an inflammatory illness that affects many people. It can affect anybody, but the reasons that it affects people, vary. Some people have asthma when they are children and it disappears once they are older. For others, it manifests later in life. There is no particular reason for why it is triggered and when it will manifest. When someone has an attack, their airways get inflamed and clogged with mucus making it difficult to breathe.

Some reasons why asthma attacks happen


Many people are prone to allergies. But this doesn’t mean that everyone who is prone to allergy become asthma sufferers. But studies have shown that people who are prone to allergies, are more prone to bouts of wheezing. This is called an allergic asthma attack. It is important to figure out what the patient is allergic to. It could be certain kinds of pollen from flowers or weeds. It could be due to certain smells. Some people are allergic to types of food.


Asthma can be hereditary. Many families have a history of asthma and it may manifest at some point in their lives. The strength of the wheezing spell can vary. For some, it can be a light wheeze while others may actually have to be hospitalized due to a bad bout.


Studies have shown that cold weather is a trigger for asthma in many people. They are perfectly fine all through summer and autumn, but the first hint of the cold, and the wheezing starts. This can continue well into spring.


Many people get an asthmatic attack as a reaction to stress. They get a wheeze if their stress levels go up. It could be due to the fact that as stress increases, the body releases hormones and adrenaline and this may trigger an asthma attack.


Obesity has been linked with asthma. The reason could be that a person who is obese, gets short of breath, when doing any kind of hard work, and this may result in a wheezing spell that may lead to full blown asthma.

Sinusitis and respiratory infections 

Some people suffer from sinusitis and other kinds of respiratory infections. These illnesses produce mucus that clogs the airways and this might, if not treated, trigger asthmatic attacks.

Help for asthma sufferers 

There has been a lot of advancement in providing help for people who suffer from this illness. For those who have wheezing spells once in a while, there is an inhaler with a drug that frees the clogged airways from mucus. A small puff of this inhaler is enough, to help relieve the wheeze.

For chronic asthma sufferers, there are nebulizers that helps clear their breathing tubes. Earlier, this was only available in hospitals and when a bad asthmatic bout occurs, one would have to rush to the hospital. But now there are compact smaller units available that can be used at home. Doing breathing exercises and yoga has been found to help patients who suffer from this illness.

If you suffer from asthma, you should try and find out what the trigger for your asthma is. If it is caused by outside influences, you should take care to avoid them. If it is triggered by something you cannot control, you should see your doctor and figure how best to control the illness. It is also important to educate your loved ones on what to do if you get a spell of wheezing. Sometimes if you get a bad attack, you may not be able to help yourself and they need to know how to help you.

By taking a bit of care you can be in control over your asthmatic attacks.


Saturday, December 21, 2013


At the Indian Health Center of Santa Clara Valley’s (IHC) Wellness Center, there was and Elders’ Lunch, Gathering, and Bingo! Over on East Santa Clara Street in downtown San Jose, the Indian Health Center likes to celebrate its diverse patient population by providing opportunities for learning about health, diabetes prevention, and culture. At the luncheon, Bingo was a big hit! Everyone loved playing, and of course winning! The prizes were various, some in connection to Indian art, and others were oriented to eating better and living a healthy lifestyle. In the end, everyone won, as the elders were fed some delicious food, and quenched their thirst with some pure, healthy water!

Healthy eating, and of course, a healthy lifestyle, is the core of the Community Wellness and Outreach (CWO) Program at the Indian Health Center. This Elders Lunch, which took place on October 4th, 2013, occurs monthly, as a way to get American Indian elders together—thereby increasing community ties, and sustaining a healthy living. These gathering are important because they provide a helpful opportunity to have friends, and the community, support each other to achieve health goals. Children, family, and other community members are always welcome at these events; the IHC appreciates all of its community members, and the more the merrier! Intergenerational and a diverse crowd helps to keep these events and spaces open and free—and very fun indeed!

The CWO Program has long been a pride jewel of the Indian Health Center—winning National Health Awards in their efforts to fight diabetes and help patients overcome their health struggles. In a human and personal way, the CWO Program makes medicine accessible, and help to bring wellness to the lives of the community. Having the event take place in the CWO gym, made for a great setting for this luncheon—as fitness and eating goals are of upmost importance here. “Eat your vegetables, and be sure to stay active!” was great mantra a buzzed in the air at this luncheon!

Craig Pasqua, Chair of the Board of Directors of the IHC, had a bit to say about his love and appreciation of the elders and the IHC. He gave a great speech about the joy he felt when he enters the doors of CWO, and seeing his community being well and motivated to stay healthy.  He was happy to have this Elder’s lunch, and was please to say he wanted to see these events continue!

After some food, everyone seemed happy to play the regular bingo, but this breast cancer awareness bingo was also extremely engaging! Playing with key words affecting breast cancer, such as smoking, and ensuring a regular breast exam made the game fun—bingo and discussion of these words were open and alive! This was definitely a safe time and place to talk about health! Good foods, and healthy behavior, were promoted from the elders themselves. And, this is how the CWO works! Keeping engagement and openness for wellness of the community and the individual!

Please join us for our next Elder lunch, and contact Fred Clay for more details at <>.
by Cuauhtemoc Peranda, MFA - Staff Writer

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

What American Indians should know about Covered California

What American Indians should know about Covered California
What Is Covered California?
Covered California is the new health insurance marketplace (or “exchange”) that makes it simple to purchase affordable, high-quality health coverage and offers access to financial assistance (if eligible) to help pay.

What are the protections for American Indians in Covered California?

-No cost-sharing for certain income levels:
Members of a federally recognized Tribe, and under 300% federal poverty level, will not have to pay co-pays or deductibles when they enroll in Covered California.

-No cost sharing at Indian Health Programs:
A federally recognized Tribe does not pay co-pays or deductibles when they receive items or services from a Tribal or urban Indian clinic.

-Ability to buy insurance and switch plans at any time:
Member of a federally recognized Tribe are entitled to enroll in/or change their health insurance plan once a month, rather than once a year.

-Not subject to the individual mandate:
Members of a federally recognized Tribe will not face a penalty if they do not have health insurance. Also, any American Indian who have received (or are eligible to receive) serves through a Tribal or Urban Indian clinic can apply for a hardship exception from the individual mandate through Covered California.

I already received services from my Indian health program, why do I need to enroll in Covered California?

By enrolling you will be covered for services that your Tribal or Urban Indian clinic does not provide, such as a medical specialist, tests, emergency room visits, and hospital care. Additionally, your community has more IHS resource for health care when you have health insurance.

What specific Benefits can I expect to receive when I enroll in Covered California?

Your covered California health plan will include at minimum 10 essential benefits:
-Ambulatory patient services
-Emergency Services
-Maternity and newborn car
-Mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavior health treatment
-Prescription drugs
-rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices (to help people with injuries, disabilities, or chronic conditions gain or recover mental and physical skills)
-Laboratory services (e.g., blood tests)
- Preventative and wellness services and chronic disease management
-Pediatric services, including dental and vision care

If I enroll in Covered California, can I continue going to my Indian Health Program?

Yes. With Covered California, you can sign up for a health plan that makes your Tribal or Urban Clinic you “Indian Health Home”- your provider of choice and your partner in navigating Covered California.

How much will it cost for me to enroll in Covered California?

Go to or visit your local Tribal or Urban Indian clinic to find out. The amount of financial assistance you may receive for a health plan depend on household income and number of individuals in the family.   (Also, members of a federally recognized Tribe will not have to pay out-of-pocket expenses, such as co-pay and deductibles.)

What if I already have health insurance?

If you already have health insurance through your job (or are Medi-Cal eligible), you do not qualify for Covered California health plans.

Can I determine if I am Medi-Cal eligible through Covered California?

Yes. Under Medi-Cal expansion, income eligibility has increased to 138% of FPL and the program now accepts childless adults and other newly eligible populations. (American Indians will not have to pay Medi-Cal premiums or out-of-pocket costs.)

What documentation will I be ask to provide?

You will need your social security card. Additionally, in order to verify your eligibility for American Indian Status, you will need to provide your Tribal Identification Card, BIA form, or Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood (CDIB).

What should I do next?

Ask you Tribal or Urban Indian Clinic for help to see if you qualify for a Covered California Plan or other programs, such as Medi-Cal. The information that you provide is confidential.