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When I get home at night, I feel like I'm rushing to pull dinner together and don't get to spend very much time with my kids. Then my kids barely eat the meal I prepare, any suggestions?

Planning a meal together is a great opportunity to strengthen family bonds, keep track of each other, educate children and get them more involved in the decision making and preparation process. Assigning simple tasks based on age, aptitude or task preference is a great way to increase the family participation and learn what to eat, what not to eat and why. When you think about it, deciding on the family meal, all the preparation that goes into it and the clean up after can lead to better mental and physical health for your entire family. Have the kids: There have been studies at the University of Minnesota as well as at Harvard, that showed how families eating meals together, make better nutritional choices, consume higher amounts of healthy nutrients and decrease the risk of unhealthy weight gain. In addition, a poll taken of high school seniors showed better grades. Another survey with teens who ate meals regularly with the family showed that they tend to be happier with their present life as well as their prospects for the future!

I heard that somehow bad breath is connected to heart disease. How is that possible?

There have been studies that show a link between coronary heart disease and gum disease. Its believed that poor oral hygiene leads to a greater growth of bacteria in the mouth, which leads to bleeding gums which increases the risk of bacteria entering your blood stream. The bacteria attach themselves to fatty plaques that will clot together and speed up the hardening of the arteries, which causes heart attacks and strokes. One way to reduce the risk would be some proper flossing and brushing to get at the heart of the problem.

It may be a sign of gum disease. If left untreated, gum disease will develop toxins, which will spread the infection and begin to dissolve the gum and bone tissue causing your teeth to fall out. This kind of destructive bacteria could travel into the blood system and infect your heart, which will put you in danger from the risks of atherosclerosis. Besides the body's defense against the bacteria forcing the arteries to constrict, and increasing the potential for blood clots, that may lead to a heart attack, a serious infection of the heart lining can occur, called endocarditis. Watch for such symptoms as tiredness, constant headaches, mild fever that lasts for months, night sweats, cold chills and dark lines under the finger nails lead to better mental and physical health for your entire family.

What can be done to avoid exposure to lead poisoning? What are the symptoms? How is lead poisoning treated?

Tips to prevent lead exposure from the Center for Disease Control: Lead poisoning typically presents no symptoms, which is why testing is so important. All children should be tested at one and two years of age and more often if lead exposure is suspected. At lower levels, the treatment of lead exposure generally includes removal of the lead source from the child?s environment. When levels get very high, the treatment is usually done in a hospital with certain medicines called chelators.

My kids are constantly getting injured in their fall sports. How do I know when to bring them to the emergency department or simply treat their injury at home?

If an injury happens, the best way to know if you need to bring them to the emergency room is to call your child?s health care provider. He/she can assess the symptoms and give you guidance.

Why does turkey make me tired?

There is a common misconception that the tryptophan in turkey causes sleepiness. Tryptophan breaks into a substance that is called serotonin and serotonin can break down into melatonin. Melatonin is a substance that causes sleep. However, turkey has no more tryptophan than other poultry, in fact it has less tryptophan than chicken. The most probable reason you feel sleepy on Thanksgiving is that you over eat and digestion takes a lot of energy.

Are ?light? or ?fat-free? foods really better than their full calorie/fat counterparts?

Not always. The supermarkets are stocked with products that promote ?fat-free? or ?light? options as the smarter nutritional choice, but these types of products can still pack a high calorie count?which is counterproductive to any conscientious weight loss plan. Whatever product you choose, be mindful of portion control. Also, your selection must satisfy your taste buds or you could end up reaching for a second helping or another food choice?which may lead to over-eating.

I?ve heard grilling can be dangerous because of the carcinogens that are deposited on the food. Should I avoid eating grilled food?

Foods that are grilled at high temperatures have shown to produce cancer-causing carcinogens?but rarely in the amount necessary to raise the risk level for one individual. To reduce this risk further, some studies suggest that marinades may decrease the formation of carcinogens. Regardless, in general it is advisable to steer more towards cooking meat at a lower temperature for a longer period of time by steaming or baking it, and reserving grilled meat for special occasions.