Starting Your Child Out Right with Dentistry

By Neal R. Benham, D.D.S., KiDZ.R.US Pediatric Dentistry

When should child have their first dental visit? Before the rest of the information, it is important that you keep your teeth clean starting in pregnancy. Decay is passed from the main caregiver to the child. The AAP, ADA, and AAPD recommend a first visit by age one.
What should you expect to happen at the visit?

• Expect some crying. All children cry except those who don’t. It’s a new experience, and it is normal for children to cry.
• A review of concerns of the parents.
• Hygiene instructions.
• Review of flouride use, both topical and systemic.
• Cavity check. Yes, one year olds do get cavities.
• Feeding issues, bottle, breast, and snacks
What should parents do before the first visit?
• Work with your child about opening and showing their teeth. Be persistent and consistent. This should start with cleaning gums before teeth erupt and brushing when they do erupt.
• Be positive. If you have issues with going to the dentist, have your spouse or a grandparent be the one to bring your child for their visit.
• Read books about visiting the dentist. Bernstein Bears is a good example.

How often do children need to visit the dentist?
Every six months is usual due to the rapidly changing development. Different things happen as the child grows and develops. They get used to the office. They get more teeth. Teeth get closer together. Children become more cooperative.

What happens if my child gets cavities?
Options depend on the number, location, and severity. Postponing with daily topical fluoride applications, removing decay with hand instruments, and a fluoride-releasing filling being placed, or if more involved, sedation or general anesthesia in the hospital.

The key is start early – be positive – it’s a life-long journey, not a single visit.

What Makes Chiropractic Different

By Dr. Heather Mickelson, DC, Wissota Chiropractic

Chiropractic looks at the nervous system and works to help optimize the function of this system that controls all the other body functions so that the human body can have the best chance to heal itself. I have observed that in the majority of instances our culture does not look to the human body to heal from the inside out. That is what makes chiropractic different. Let me tell you my chiropractic story.

I was raised eating homemade granola with ingredients from Sunyata co-op and fresh fruit. We worked our garden and hiked at Big Falls. My parents chose not to have us vaccinated, and some of my teachers told me they were sure I was vaccinated but my mom just forgot and told me incorrectly. I have no memories of going to a medical doctor and never needed a prescription. What I do remember are the healthy lifestyle choices my parents made for us.

Homemade food with real ingredients, going to bed early, getting plenty of fresh air and exercise, and having regular trips to the chiropractor. I grew up and became a chiropractor. I have seen people come in with low back pain and tell me that after having their spine adjusted they were no longer constipated or that they started being able to sleep again. I have seen chiropractic help so many people in so many ways.
Having the nervous system free flowing would be a benefit to us all. The nervous system coordinates the whole body, including immune response, the circulatory system, and the digestive system. So seeing a chiropractor is for so much more than back pain and headaches. I believe it is part of a healthy lifestyle that supports an understanding that in most cases the body can heal itself from the inside out. That is what makes chiropractic different.

Tips for a healthy lifestyle:

  • Eat real food and avoid processed food.
  • Get plenty of fresh air and exercise.
  • Get the sleep your body needs.
  • Keep your mind active and sharp.
  • Visit a chiropractor regularly.

For more information, contact Dr. Heather Mickelson, DC at 715-723-3333 or visit

Using Herbal Remedies to Support Mind and Body During the Dolidays

By Erin LaFaive

During cold winter months our bodies and minds may experience more stress as they try to stay warm, defend against harmful germs encountered from being in close quarters with others, and maintain energy needed to keep up with extra demands from the holidays when all we want to do is hibernate.

Stressed-out bodies and minds may lead to increased susceptibility to colds and flu. Herbal remedies that support the body to fight off these kinds of illnesses include elderberry syrup. It’s high in vitamin C and can be taken daily by the tablespoon or added to water and smoothies. Culinary herbs have anti-microbial properties too. Add herbs such as oregano, thyme, sage, garlic, and onion daily, to recipes.

Nourishing infusions of oat straw help soothe nerves over time. It’s also rich in calcium and magnesium. Use one ounce of dried herb and add one quart of boiling water (I like to use a one quart mason jar). Add a lid, but don’t tighten it, and let the infusion steep for about 2 to 4 hours. Drink at least one cup per day. Oat straw comes from the same plant used to make oatmeal, therefore you can imagine that oat straw infusion tastes like watered-down oatmeal. The plant is sometimes sold as only the unripened tops called “milky oat tops” or just the dried stalk and leaves called “oat straw.” Either can be used, however milky oat tops tend to be more expensive.

Herbs known as nervines can help soothe frayed nerves. Mild nervines include chamomile, catnip, and lemon balm. They can be drank as a tea or used in tincture form. For a tea to impart its medicinal properties, a person must drink up to three cups per day. Tinctures are another option to ingesting herbal remedies. They are usually made by steeping the herb in alcohol for approximately four weeks. However, non-alcohol versions are made using vegetable glycerin.

Where to purchase herbs and other remedies? Look at local health stores that carry bulk herbs and other herbal remedies. My go-to for on-line sources include Mountain Rose Herbs, Frontier Co-op, Zack Woods Herb Farm, and HerbPharm.

Erin LaFaive, MS, is trained as a master herbalist, owns Full Circle Herbals, and has an office at Harmony Healing Center, 2411 North Hillcrest Parkway Suite 11,  Altoona, Wisconsin. Contact her for a free 15-minute consultation at

Real Food Is Healthy

By Heidi Toy, NTP 

When you think of traditional foods, what pictures come to mind? Little children running around a homestead pulling eggs from under chickens as in Little House on the Prairie? Grandma skillfully rolling out pie crusts made with lard? Or perhaps the booths at the local farmers market bursting with the colors of the spring harvest?

Simply put, traditional foods are those in their most natural state, unadulterated, unrefined, and grown in nutrient-dense soil. It is these real, whole, nourishing foods enjoyed for generation upon generation that provide the cells of our bodies with the necessary fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients needed for vibrant health. This state of well-being is characterized by a quiet and strong digestive system, blissful sleep, sturdy bones, a calm and clear mind, and an immune function that prevents infection.

A number of factors influence ones vitality: sleep quality, rest, companionship, physical activity, chemical exposure, and more. Yet food remains the key player for nourishing the body’s every cell. We now know that epigenetics is more important than genetics, that 75 percent of our health is dependent on whether we encourage good genes to express and bad genes not to express. The body’s genes are constantly communicating with the nutrients we take in through food. In other words, food either feeds or poisons a cell. And this is a powerful concept when one considers that cells make tissues, tissues make organs, and organs make us—our brains, our bones, our reproductive organs, our joints.

Health is a choice: we can say we “don’t have time to cook a meal.” But remember the old wisdom: pay the farmer today or pay the doctor later.

A study published in 2001 of organic versus conventional produce found that the organic versions contained 27 percent more vitamin C, 29 percent more magnesium, 86 percent more chromium, and 375 percent more selenium. The chemical-free foods were also lower in cancer-causing nitrates and toxic heavy metals.

Another study published in 2003 of the levels of pesticide metabolites in the urine found that children eating organic had 6 to 9 times lower levels than children eating conventionally grown food. Bear in mind, pesticides are up to 10 times more toxic to children than adults, due to their smaller body size and developing organ systems, so it is especially important to minimize their exposure.

The meat of cows roaming on pasture, munching away on their natural diet of fresh grass, have more omega-3s and more vitamins A and E than their commercial grain-fed, feedlot cousins. Hormone residues in meat and dairy products can disrupt our body’s natural hormone balance; many experts suspect that consumption of hormone-treated beef and dairy products may contribute to girls reaching puberty earlier. Chickens allowed to forage for bugs and grass and to soak up sunshine in the great outdoors produce eggs with greater amounts of vitamins E and A than their commercial, cooped up, pellet-fed counterparts. Eggs from pastured hens also contain omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in the beneficial ratio of approximately 1:1, unlike commercial eggs, which average an unhealthy 1:19.

In my practice and with my clients, it is my job to help them understand that purchasing organic doesn’t have to be all or none; pick and choose, evaluate your budget, the price of items, and re-organize your meals to include more seasonable organic choices. We are fortunate to be living in an area where there are many affordable options when it comes to purchasing organic and pastured animal products.

Heidi Toy is a Functional Nutritional Therapist, and the owner of “Educated Nutrition”, located in Altoona, WI. Her focus is helping people heal holistically, with an emphasis on digestion, weight loss, depression, female hormone issues, and fatigue. 

What Is Homebirth, Anyway?

By Erin Kaspar-Frett, midwife

I’ll start by telling you what homebirth is not. It is not a substitute for a hospital when one is needed. It also is not a chanting hippy fest, nor “extreme birth,” nor many of the other labels assigned to it. It is just that; a birth that happens in the home instead of hospital. There are many myths surrounding homebirth, and I thought I would take time to discuss them.

► Myth 1: All homebirthers will stay home no matter what.Truth: We transport when need arises. In fact we monitor mom and baby and transport (during labor) or transfer care (prenatally) when there are signs to do so.

► Myth 2: Midwives are untrained. Truth: Midwives are usually fully trained care providers, training that takes years to complete. Many of us have degrees related to our schooling, and all of us have a protocol to follow. Be aware that not everyone that uses the title “midwife” has the same training or procedures. But trained midwives recognize when we need more help than we can provide at home. We are skilled in how to handle situations such as: shoulder dystocia, resuscitation, maternal bleeding, meconium in the amniotic fluid etc. More importantly, we monitor to make sure all vitals and signs of health are maintained, in order to avoid late emergencies.

► Myth 3: Homebirth is unsafe.Truth: Research says no. Research has shown planned home birth for low-risk pregnant people with a skilled and trained care provider is as safe for mothers as hospital birth but carries less interventions and their coinciding risks. Homebirth is also as safe for babies as hospital birth as long as the care provider is trained and certifie in neonatal resuscitation and carries equipment.

► Myth 4: Midwives do not bring anything with them to the birth.Truth: We bring a lot. For example, we bring many bags with us, including oxygen, anti-hemorrhagic medications, basic vital equipment, scale, resuscitation equipment, etc. In fact, we carry equipment and supplies to handle the most complications.

► Myth 5: Birth is messier at home.Truth: While birth does carry with it some fluids and ourbodies are involved, it is no messier at home than in the hospital. We provide a list of things to gather around your house and set up to minimize the “mess” but also clean up for you before we go. Our goal is to have your house the same or better than when we came.

► Myth 6: Homebirth is unsterile.Truth: With the exception of surgical birth (we don’t do that at home), birth is not sterile, no matter where birth occurs (think about where the baby comes out). Birth should not be sterile. Our bodies carry good bacteria all the time. We want to share that with babies so their immune systems can be as strong as possible. That said, midwives understand the need for cleanliness and hand-washing and keep the area as clean as possible.

What does homebirth look like?

First, let’s talk about the prenatal appointments. We hold appointments at the same schedule and testing (if parents want it) as the clinic. By the time baby is coming, they should have a good understanding of the midwife’s practice and expectations. When labor starts, the midwife is alerted. They may not come right away. Midwife and parents will decide that together. When it is time for the midwife to come, they will show up with the bags and set up inside. They will listen to baby intermittently as long as everything continues to look good. They will take the birthing person’s vitals every few hours and set up the area for birth. Mostly, the midwife will leave them to fin their own internal rhythm, although styles do differ, and we are there to help in the event that it’s needed.

The birthing family decides what the lighting will be, who will be at their birth, the amount of talking, and what they eat, even who catches the baby. Trained midwives will stay at the house long enough to do a newborn exam, check the birthing person’s bottom, make sure everyone has eaten and is stable and cleans up. This usually takes between four and six hours. And then we return for visits in the post-partum period, or families come back to the midwife office This relationship may last a year or a lifetime.

The thing is that we are human. That means we have a hormonal system that reacts when we are worried or afraid or something (or someone) unexpected walks into the room. That is never more obvious as when giving birth. Adrenaline (the hormone released when stress occurs) blocks the endorphines’ (nature’s pain reliever) receptor sites in the body. So if a birthing person is startled or afraid or is uncomfortable with the environment in which they’re birthing, the birth could be more painful. That isn’t to say that homebirth is painless, far from it. It is still childbirth, and everyone experiences that differently. However, it is able to function more efficiently and with more ease when the birthing person is relaxed and in an environment in which they are comfortable. That does not mean homebirth is for everyone! High-risk pregnancies are not candidates for home birth. For low-risk pregnancies, it is a personal choice, and a human right to choose.

Erin Kaspar-Frett is a licensed, certified Pofessional Midwife with a master’s of science in Midwifery from the Midwives College of Utah. She lives with her family in Knapp, Wisconsin, and serves a geographical area within a 1.5 hour radius of her home. She can be reached at 612-801-9967 or For more information about Erin and the safety of homebirth please visit