Too much toothpaste may hurt your child’s smile, study says

Tomwang112/iStock(NEW YORK) — When struggling to put a child to bed on time each night, one of the last things on a parent’s mind is the amount of toothpaste smeared across their toothbrush. However, a recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that parents and care providers for young children should focus on the amount of fluoride-containing paste that is going into their children’s mouths. Nearly 40 percent of children ages 3 to 6 are using more fluoride-containing toothpaste than recommended by public health officials.

That said, the same CDC report also found that 80 percent of children between the ages of 3 and 15 began brushing after their first birthday — which is too late, according to the American Dental Association. Many children also only brush once per day, while brushing twice a day is recommended.

Dentists recommend beginning to brush as soon as you see your child’s first tooth and using a pea-sized amount of toothpaste for children ages 3 to 6. A grain-of-rice amount of toothpaste is recommended for younger kids, because children inadvertently swallow small amounts while they are brushing, especially when they are not being carefully supervised.

While toothpaste itself is not harmful to health, excessive ingestion of it’s fluoride has the potential to cause Fluorosis in children. On the mild side Fluorosis can cause white discoloration and on the severe end can mean divots to enamel and a brown corrosive appearance. The damage, which is permanent, may be treated with cosmetic procedures to mask the stains.

There is no risk of discoloration to adults, because, “The chance of development of fluorosis exists through approximate age eight when the teeth are still forming under the gums,” according to the American Dental Association.

So make sure your children are not swallowing too much fluoride while brushing.

Rinsing with tap water has an added benefit.

There is probably fluoride in your tap water, a chemical that has been associated with lowering teeth decay rates. Around 75 percent of community water systems in the U.S. have access to fluoridated water, according to the CDC.

The ADA has endorsed the fluoridation of community water as “safe, beneficial and cost-effective and socially equitable public health measure for preventing dental caries in children and adults.”

To summarize, here are eight facts to remember:

• Start early! Begin brushing when you see your baby’s first tooth.

• A non-fluoride containing toothpaste can be used in children under age 2 (per CDC recommendations). Fluoride-containing toothpastes (per American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), and American Dental Association (ADA) can also be used, especially with children who are at high risk for cavities, as long as you are using the proper amount.

• Apply a small amount of toothpaste — the size of a grain of rice — and press it into the bristles of the toothbrush for kids ages 2 and under.

• Use a pea-sized amount of fluoride-containing toothpaste for kids ages 3 to 6.

• Monitor and help your child while they brush twice a day.

• Make sure your child spits after brushing, and parents should remove any noticeable toothpaste residue left in the mouth.

• Store all toothpaste and fluoride-containing products where your child can’t easily reach them.

Finally, each child’s individual needs may be different, so make sure to consult your doctor and dentists at regularly scheduled checkups.

Alexandra H. Antonioli, Ph.D., is completing a combined M.D./Ph.D. training at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. She is currently working with the ABC News Medical Unit.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Top US commander: Political talks with Taliban ‘absolutely’ key part of any endgame in Afghanistan war

WORLD NEWS Top US commander: Political talks with Taliban 'absolutely' key part of any endgame in Afghanistan war

ABC News(KABUL) — Gen. Scott Miller, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, has taken over at a pivotal moment in America’s longest war.

The four-star general was here right after Sept. 11, 2001.

“Did you ever think that right after 9/11 when you were here that you’d be here all these years later as commander?” asked ABC News and “World News Tonight” anchor David Muir, as the two traveled by helicopter from Kabul to Camp Commando, a few miles south of Afghanistan’s capital.

“Absolutely not. I didn’t think it’d be 17, 18 years later,” Miller said.

Miller took Muir and the ABC News team to the camp to see what the military deems could be a crucial part of any possible endgame in the war in Afghanistan.

At the camp, U.S. Special Forces are training Afghan forces as the Americans keep watch. The Afghans — with support from the coalition and under Miller — have accelerated the fight against the Taliban. Negotiations between the U.S. and the Taliban are ongoing in an attempt to end the war, even as special forces continue to move against the group with deadly force.

In January, U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, defended talks with the militant group.

“The political talks, I do think are, are positive. I’ve talked about this fight multiple times — and it is a fight. Neither side will win it militarily, and if neither side will win it militarily you have to move into a — towards a political settlement here,” Miller told Muir.

“But do you think those political talks with the Taliban are key part of any endgame here?” Muir asked.

“Absolutely,” he said.

Just weeks ago, Afghan special forces, backed by the Americans, stormed a Taliban prison to rescue their own troops being held captive inside, according to a military public information officer.

Muir’s visit to troops in Afghanistan comes amid reports that President Donald Trump wants to reduce the American presence in Afghanistan, eventually putting an end to America’s longest war.

There are currently about 14,000 U.S. troops serving in a counterterrorism mission against the Taliban and ISIS, and as part of a train, advise and assist mission for Afghan security forces.

“There have been reports the president would like to see a drawdown of U.S. troops here (in) Afghanistan. Has there been any order to do that?” Muir asked.

“No. … First of all, I have the authorities of the capabilities that I need from the U.S. and the coalition standpoint to work with our Afghan partners. At the same time, as a commander, I’m always trying to bring the footprint down, bring our force structure down,” Miller said.

The U.S. commander made it clear that he is a general, not a policymaker, and that he would follow his chain of command as well as President Trump.

U.S. military officials told ABC News that part of any endgame for them was making sure that Afghan forces were prepared to fight the insurgency, which also now includes ISIS in Afghanistan.

Afghan forces are fighting ISIS with support from U.S. airstrikes, but unlike the Taliban, ISIS has no desire to negotiate, officials said.

Miller made clear that there was no endgame in Afghanistan that provided a safe haven for terrorists.

“In 2001, it was very clear to the world what we were doing in Afghanistan. In 2019, there still are national interests that need to be safeguarded,” he said.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 04 Feb 2019

Pentagon report warns about the future of ISIS in Syria, as Trump says US troops can return ‘very quickly’

WORLD NEWS Pentagon report warns about the future of ISIS in Syria, as Trump says US troops can return 'very quickly'

Bumblee_Dee/iStock(WASHINGTON) — A Pentagon report released on Monday indicated that the Islamic State remains an active insurgent group in Iraq and Syria and that, without sustained pressure, the group could reconstitute in Syria within six to 12 months.

The report comes just one day after President Donald Trump said in an interview with CBS News’ “Face the Nation,” that the U.S. would send troops back to Syria if needed, even as the administration continues its plan to withdraw 2,000 U.S. forces from Syria.

“We have very fast airplanes, we have very good cargo planes. We can come back very quickly, and I’m not leaving,” he said.

In the same interview, the president also said the purpose of the U.S. military presence in Iraq includes “watching” Iran — a comment that drew consternation from Iraqi leadership.

“ISIS remains an active insurgent group in both Iraq and Syria,” U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) told the Pentagon’s Office of Inspector General.

The remarks were included in its quarterly report to Congress.

“Currently, ISIS is regenerating key functions and capabilities more quickly in Iraq than in Syria, but absent sustained [counterterrorism] pressure, ISIS could likely resurge in Syria within six to twelve months and regain limited territory in the [Middle Euphrates River Valley (MERV)],” CENTCOM added.

CENTCOM’s response to the Inspector General’s office came on Jan. 16, 2019 nearly a month after Trump’s surprise announcement that he was ordering the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria after the U.S. “won against ISIS,” he said.

Trump’s announcement in December came after the Inspector General had completed much of its work, but it led the office to pose a new series of questions about the withdrawal to military commands.

U.S. troops are currently supporting the Syrian Democratic Forces in their final battle against the last ISIS strongholds in eastern Syria, where it’s estimated that about 2,000 ISIS fighters remain. According to the Pentagon report, those remaining fighters are “battle-experienced,” “hardened,” and “well-disciplined.”

As part of its withdrawal plan, the U.S. has sought for all Iranian-commanded forces to exit Syria.

Trump also told CBS News on Sunday that, while 99 percent of the terrorist group’s self-declared caliphate has been reclaimed, “we will be announcing in the not too distant future 100 percent.”

The president acknowledged in the Sunday interview that there will still be “pockets” of fighters, but said, “You’re not going to keep armies there because you have a few people or you even have fairly reasonable numbers of people. We’ve been there for many, many years.”

He also said that some of the U.S. troops withdrawing from Syria will be based at al-Asad air base in western Iraq, which the president visited briefly in December. He said they would be tasked with “looking a little bit at Iran because Iran is a real problem.”

Trump denied wanting to strike Iran, but said, “I want to be able to watch Iran. All I want to do is be able to watch. We have an unbelievable and expensive military base built in Iraq. It’s perfectly situated for looking at all over different parts of the troubled Middle East rather than pulling up … and if there’s trouble, if somebody is looking to do nuclear weapons or other things, we’re going to know it before they do.”

The policy of “watching” Iran from inside Iraq came as a surprise and outrage to Iraqi leaders.

Iraqi President Barham Salih told a forum in Baghdad on Monday that the U.S. president had not asked for permission to use its base for such purposes.

“Don’t overburden Iraq with your own issues,” Salih said. “The U.S. is a major power … but do not pursue your own policy priorities, we live here.”

“It is of fundamental interest for Iraq to have good relations with Iran” and other neighboring countries, he added.

Iraq’s former Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who had strong backing from the U.S, also voiced opposition to Trump’s comments, tweeting, “Iraqi sovereignty must be respected.”

“Its interests should not be compromised,” the prime minister from 2014 to 2018 wrote. “Iraq should not be used as a spring board to attack its neighbours. We are not proxies in conflicts outside the interests of our nation.”

 There is already concern that Trump’s comments will encourage some Iraqi politicians, especially those with close ties to Iran, to push more strongly for the approximately 5,200 U.S. troops to leave Iraq.

A senior State Department official said on Monday that the U.S. presence in Iraq is at the invitation of the Iraqi government “for the enduring defeat of ISIS” and “that hasn’t changed.”

But the official stressed that Iran’s “malign” activity throughout the region is of concern to Washington, and said its action “allows the conditions for ISIS to fester” and called on Iran to respect Iraq’s sovereignty.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 04 Feb 2019

Egypt unearths more than 40 mummies in ‘maze of tombs’

WORLD NEWS Egypt unearths more than 40 mummies in 'maze of tombs'

warat42/iStock(CAIRO) — Dozens of mummies have been unearthed at an ancient burial site in Upper Egypt, officials said.

Egypt’s Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany on Saturday unveiled the discovery in Minya, south of Cairo, which consists of “a maze of tombs” housing more than 40 mummies of men, women and children.

The remains, which have not been identified, were likely from the same upper-middle class family, according to a statement from the antiquities ministry.

“All are in a good conservation condition,” the ministry said in the statement. “Some of them were buried inside stone or wooden sarcophagi while others were buried in sands or on the floors of the tombs or inside niches.”

Researchers from the ministry and Minya University “stumbled upon” the grave last February at the Tuna el-Gebel archaeological site, which was the necropolis of the ancient city of Hermopolis.

There, they uncovered “a tomb engraved in rock composed of a corridor leading to sloping stairs that opened to a rectangular chamber with a number of burials,” according to the ministry.

They later located more chambers “filled with mummies and large stone sarcophagi.”

Fragments of pottery and papyri helped archaeologists date the burial site back to the Ptolemaic era, the last dynasty of ancient Egypt, which lasted from 323 BC to 30 BC.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 04 Feb 2019

Patriots player says no to White House visit as inevitable cycle of questions begins

Sports News Patriots player says no to White House visit as inevitable cycle of questions begins

Bill Chizek/iStock(ATLANTA) — Fresh off a historic Super Bowl win against the Los Angeles Rams, New England Patriots safety Duron Harmon was asked on Sunday whether he plans to attend the traditional White House visit with his teammates, where they would be honored in a ceremony by President Donald Trump.

“Nah, man. They don’t want me in the White House, man,” Harmon told TMZ Sports.

The short exchange, in which Harmon noted that it “would be dope” to see former President Barack Obama, reignited a saga that has become part of the inevitable cycle in the age of Trump.

Over the past two years, the president has publicly feuded with athletes and sports institutions, particularly the NFL, in a way that no U.S. president has before.

Trump ignited a public war with some of the league’s biggest stars when he slammed black players like former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who routinely took a knee during the national anthem to protest racism and police brutality. Trump also lambasted NFL owners for allowing the protests to continue and called on fans to boycott games.

His rhetoric has not only drawn backlash from some players, but has also put those who did not comment in the spotlight, prompting speculation about their politics.

Amid the barrage of questions about broken records, team dynamics and assessments of plays, sports champions — from the NBA to the NFL — have been bombarded by reporters and fans who want to know: “Are you going to the White House?”

The Patriots, who happen to be Trump’s favorite team, have gone to the Super Bowl each year that Trump has been president and won the championship in 2017.

One day later, tight end Martellus Bennett told reporters that he would not participate in the White House visit.

“Basic reason for me is I don’t feel accepted in the White House. With the president having so many strong opinions and prejudices, I believe certain people might feel accepted there while others won’t,” he said.

Over the next couple of weeks, several other players including defensive end Chris Long, running back LeGarrette Blount, defensive tackle Alan Branch and linebacker Dont’a Hightower announced that they would also not attend, with some citing their opposition to Trump.

But it was the team’s star quarterback Tom Brady — a personal friend of Trump since 2002 — who was at the center of the drama.

After months of speculation, Brady surprised many when he announced on April 19 — the day of the visit — that he would not be joining his teammates at the White House, citing “personal family matters.”

“I am so happy and excited that our team is being honored at the White House today,” Brady said in a statement. “Our team has accomplished something very special that we are all proud of and will be for years to come. Thank you to the President for hosting this honorary celebration and for supporting our team for as long as I can remember.”

Trump hosted a group of Patriots players at the White House, along with team owner Robert Kraft and head coach Bill Belichick, who are also friends with Trump. He he did not publicly comment on Brady’s absence.

But last year the president rescinded an invitation to the 2018 Super Bowl champs, the Philadelphia Eagles, after several players announced that they planned to boycott the visit.

“The Philadelphia Eagles Football Team was invited to the White House. Unfortunately, only a small number of players decided to come, and we canceled the event. Staying in the Locker Room for the playing of our National Anthem is as disrespectful to our country as kneeling. Sorry!” the president tweeted.

 He also disinvited the 2017 NBA champions, the Golden State Warriors, tweeting, “Going to the White House is considered a great honor for a championship team.Stephen Curry is hesitating,therefore invitation is withdrawn!”

The Warriors, who also came out on top in 2018, did not receive an invitation from Trump.

ABC News has reached out to the White House to ask whether the president plans on inviting the Patriots this year, but a request for comment was not immediately returned.

Trump, who routinely congratulates the Patriots on Twitter, has not yet tweeted about this year’s win, but he did attend a Super Bowl watch party with first lady Melania Trump Sunday night at his Mar-a-lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 04 Feb 2019

New measles cases discovered in Houston amid outbreaks elsewhere

Dr_Microbe/iStock(HOUSTON) — Three new cases of measles were confirmed by health officials in Houston on Monday, making it the latest city to have the once-eliminated disease appear in recent weeks.

The Houston outbreak comes as new cases of measles are being confirmed in Washington state on a daily basis, and other cases have been confirmed in Oregon, Georgia, and New York.

The new measles cases in Houston bring the total number of cases in Texas to six so far in 2019.

A number of specific details about the cases in Houston have not been publicly disclosed, including how it is believed that the individuals contracted the disease and if they were previously vaccinated.

The only details about the three infected individuals that have been released is that two are young boys under the age of 2 and the third is a woman between the ages of 25 and 35 years old. All three individuals live in northwest Harris County, according to Harris County Public Health.

“Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus, which spreads to others through coughing and sneezing,” Umair Shah, the executive director of Harris County Public Health said in a statement confirming the new cases in Houston. “However, it is easily preventable. Parents and caregivers have the power to protect their children and themselves from this disease by getting vaccinated.”

The outbreak in Clark County, Washington, involves 49 confirmed cases of measles and nine suspected cases, according to local public health officials.

New York has also seen an outbreak that started in the fall of 2018 and has continued into 2019. A New York Department of Health official confirmed to ABC News last week that there were 30 confirmed cases to date in New York so far this year, and 122 confirmed cases in 2018. Those cases are mostly located in Rockland and Orange counties, about an hour and a half drive north of Manhattan.

Experts attribute the spread of measles in part to lower vaccination rates in certain communities, making more people vulnerable to the disease and lowering the level of herd immunity that protects large groups from becoming infected.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman federal jury begins deliberations

WORLD NEWS Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman federal jury begins deliberations

Drew Angerer/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — An anonymous Brooklyn federal jury began deliberations Monday afternoon in the sweeping drug conspiracy trial of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

Prosecutors have accused Guzman of trafficking cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana into the U.S. as a top leader of the Sinaloa Cartel.

“This guy, I think, is the No. 1 bad guy of our generation, and I just don’t think people realize,” said Jack Riley, a retired deputy administrator for the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Closing arguments ended Thursday, and the trial did not sit on Friday. U.S. District Court Judge Brian Cogan for the Eastern District of New York gave the jury instructions on Monday morning.

Attorney General Matthew Whitaker visited the courtroom after the jury departed for lunch and wished the prosecution good luck.

In 10 weeks of testimony, 53 prosecution witnesses have described seemingly every conceivable aspect of the life of the alleged former head of the Sinaloa cartel: a naked journey through a secret tunnel, plastic bananas filled with cocaine, brutal murders, spied-on mistresses and an alleged bribe to then-Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto.

“Obviously we disagree with much of the allegations against Mr. Guzman,” defense attorney Jeffrey Lichtman said outside court.

The defense asserted in closing arguments that Guzman was the victim of an elaborate conspiracy.

Defending Guzman was never going to be easy after he bragged about being the world’s biggest drug trafficker in an interview with Sean Penn for Rolling Stone.

“In a case such as this, the most damning evidence is the defendant’s own words,” said criminal defense attorney Alex Spiro, who’s not involved in the case. “The recordings in which Mr. Guzman is allegedly talking about large narcotics transactions strike me as the most damning evidence.”

Guzman, 61, was extradited to the U.S. on the eve of President Donald Trump’s inauguration in January 2017.

“Guzman’s destructive and murderous rise as an international narcotics trafficker is akin to that of a small, cancerous tumor that metastasized and grew into a full-blown scourge that for decades littered the streets of Mexico with the casualties of violent drug wars,” Robert Capers, then-U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said at the time of Guzman’s extradition.

The Eastern District is prosecuting Guzman’s case.

Jurors have been asked to weigh 10 counts against Guzman, each with different components.

“They have to systematically go through each count in the indictment in their verdict sheet,” Spiro said. “Their decision can come quite quickly inside the jury room, but it may take them time to work through all the charges.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 04 Feb 2019

Israel begins building fence surrounding entire Gaza Strip

WORLD NEWS Israel begins building fence surrounding entire Gaza Strip

pawel.gaul/iStock(JERUSALEM) — Israel has started to build a controversial fence around the Gaza Strip, saying it’s vital for keeping out terrorists after three wars with Hamas in 10 years.

The 20-foot high steel fence will completely surround the Gaza Strip, measuring 40 miles long when completed. It will be equipped with security sensors and will sit on top of a subterranean concrete wall that’s already nearly built.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the multi-layered barriers after the 2014 Gaza War to stop tunneling and cross-border attacks by Hamas.

The $850 million project is expected to be finished by the end of the year.

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Posted On 04 Feb 2019