I am so proud of my partner Dr. Chand, and her husband, Steve, for what they accomplished on a recent mission to help children with albinism in Tanzania, Africa. Most of us were uninformed about the tragedies these children suffered till Dr. Chand brought it to our attention. I thank the Lord for her fervent heart as she continues to serve others despite the physical and emotional challenges she faces to do so.
In some regions of Africa, people with albinism (a defect of pigment production that results in little or no color in the skin, hair, and eyes) face extreme prejudice and are brutally killed, eaten, and have their body parts sold on the black market. Local witch doctors teach that people with albinism are spirits, rather than actual people, and that albino body parts will bring wealth and good fortune and cure you of many illnesses. “This mistaken belief that albino body parts have magical powers has driven thousands of Africa’s albinos into hiding, fearful of losing their lives and limbs to unscrupulous dealers who can make up to $75,000 selling a complete dismembered set,” (The Associated Press, 2009).
Below is part of a recent email sent to me from Dr. Chand:
“We have met some of the bravest, most amazing children. Today, we treated a 10 year old girl who was attacked and had her arm cut off. I don’t exactly know how she managed to escape but she did! Another little boy had his finger cut off but escaped by biting his attacker. Please continue to pray for our trip and also for these children. There are some schools where the teachers really take care of the children and then there are others where the kids are neglected. In those schools, I saw many kids with sunburn and skin cancer. It really broke my heart….”
To read more about Dr. Chand’s recent mission and to learn more about this cause, click on Dr. Chand’s Blog below:
Photo courtesy of Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral and with the right dosing, fluoride is an excellent and safe way to strengthen your child’s teeth and decrease his/her chances of getting a cavity.
Tooth decay is the single most common chronic childhood disease.
2000 US Report of Health Services
28% of children between the ages of 2-5 have decay
78% of kids by age 17 have decay
Communities that are fluoridated show a 50% decrease in cavity rates.
There are 2 ways fluoride can be used. Fluoride can be ingested through fluoridated tap water or fluoride supplements. This type of “internal” fluoride supplementation will increase the strength of the enamel of the developing permanent teeth. You can also use fluoride topically by placing fluoride toothpaste or gels directly on to the existing teeth in your child’s mouth. In summary, topical fluoride helps decrease cavities in existing teeth, and ingesting fluoride internally will help make a child’s developing permanent teeth stronger. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the U.S. Public Health Department, and the American Dental Association all recommend that children ages 1 to 16 years old receive fluoride either in the water that they drink or as a supplement.
Today, most municipal water supplies are fortified with fluoride. The water supply for Orange County is made up of water from the Metropolitan District of Southern California and contains an average fluoride level of 0.6 parts per million. If the local water supply has a fluoride content of more than 0.3 parts per million then your child does not need a supplement in the form of drops or tablets. You can get information about how much fluoride your tap water contains by contacting your local water department, or by purchasing a test kit.
Although fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral, it is important that children get the right amount of fluoride, as too much over time can lead to fluorosis, a condition that causes white spots to appear on your child’s adult teeth. While most cases of fluorosis are mild, severe cases can cause a brownish mottling on the teeth and weaken tooth enamel. But these cases are mostly caused by over consumption of fluoride through swallowing of toothpaste or fluoride supplements, not through drinking city water. To avoid this, do not use toothpaste or mouthwash that contain fluoride until your child learns how to properly spit out which generally is not till the age of 3 or 4 years old . We recommend when using a fluoride toothpaste, use only a rice-sized amount for children under the age of 3.
Speak with your child’s pediatric dentist to determine the right amount of fluoride for your child.
For more information, please visit us at childrensdentistry.com.
Source: “Fluoride Supplements” by Anonymous. May 20, 2011. http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/feeding-infants-toddlers/fluoride-supplements
Source: “Brush up on Healthy Teeth.” http://www.cdc.gov/oralhealth/pdfs/BrushUpTips.pdf
Source: “Toothcare for Children” by the BabyCenter Medical Advisory Board. September 2011. http://www.babycenter.com/0_tooth-care-for-children_11282.bc
We’ve all been there – trying to get our little ones to eat nutritious and healthy meals can be challenging, and sometimes we cave and give them a less wholesome option. We can’t really force our kids to eat everything we want so many parents elect to supplement their child’s diets with vitamins, a popular option being gummy vitamins.
We get the idea that gummy vitamins are good for our children. They contain vitamins and minerals, and what’s great is that kids love to eat them. So, it’s win-win, right? Unfortunately while gummy vitamins contain ingredients that support healthy growth and development, they can also be harmful to a child’s teeth.
The first two ingredients typically listed on the product labels of these vitamins are glucose syrup and sucrose. Glucose syrup is sweet, made from a mixture of water and glucose, and is also known as corn syrup. The second ingredient, sucrose, is just the technical name for table sugar, cane sugar or white sugar. These ingredients help give the gummy vitamins the candy-like flavor that kids love, but really, we are still giving them sugar.
Once the sugar from the gummy vitamin is in the mouth and sticks to the teeth, the bacteria that processes those sugars creates acid that can cause tooth decay. The stickiness of the gummy vitamin adheres to the teeth, thus allowing the bacteria to thrive. Another problem is that the sticky texture in gummy vitamins can also pull off sealants and dental fillings. We may also want to think about the message we are sending to our kids -do we really want our kids growing up thinking gummy candies are good for them?
If you feel it’s necessary to give your child a multivitamin, opt for a liquid multi-vitamin, which can mix easily with other foods or liquids. Liquid supplements are preferable to tablets for maximal absorption because liquids are readily absorbed in the body and do not need to be broken down for the active ingredients to be released. Liquid vitamins and minerals are also somewhat safer to store in your home than chewable tablets because they are not typically mistaken for candy. Giving your toddler liquid vitamins also prevents the possibility your toddler will choke on a pill or tablet.
Always consult your doctor to make sure your child needs supplemental vitamins. Continue to get vitamins from real-food sources. Your child should ideally be consuming a balanced variety of fresh and healthy food selections and eating meals rich in vitamins and minerals.
For more information, please visit us at childrensdentistry.com
Abram, Kate. Liquid Vitamins and Minerals for Toddlers. June 1, 2011. http://www.livestrong.com/article/460658-liquid-vitamins-and-minerals-for-toddlers/
Irene, Sarah. Gummy Vites Ingredients. March 28, 2011. http://www.livestrong.com/article/26466-gummy-vites-ingredients/
Marcus, Mary Brophy. Gummy Vitamins, Rotten Teeth? September 24, 2007. http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2007-09-23-gummy-vitamins_N.htm
As noted in my previous blog entry, I often see kids under the age of 1, per the recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), and to ensure that our children get a good start with healthy teeth. No matter what age or circumstance, parents often ask us if we can help them make their child’s first pediatric dental experience more pleasant. Here are some tips that may help:
- Schedule an appointment time when your child is alert and well rested. Children 5 years and younger tend to be more cooperative earlier in the day. Avoid scheduling during a child’s routine nap or meal time.
- Explain to your child before the visit that the dentist will count his/her teeth and make sure they are strong and healthy. You are encouraged to role play with your child. Pretend with your child as they lie on a flat surface as they would in a dental chair.
- Because most pediatric dentists have fun pictures on their website, show them to your child as this may excite them about the experience.
- Read your child a story about a character that has a positive experience with the dentist. There are several children’s books available about “First time visits to the Dentist” that can be found in any local bookstore or online.
- Please use positive language around your child when discussing his/her dental visit. Refrain from using words that may cause unnecessary fear such as hurt, pull, drill, shot, etc. Do not let others tell your child negative stories about dental visits and avoid letting your child know if you feel anxious about going to the dentist. Children are more intuitive than we give them credit for! An anxious parent can cause unnecessary anxiety for the child.
- If your child is 3 or older and he/she is scheduled for their first dental cleaning, it can be helpful to get your child an electric toothbrush so that he/she becomes accustomed to the sound and feeling of vibration on their teeth.
- Be a good role model for your child by brushing twice a day, flossing every night, eating healthy, and visiting the dentist regularly. Children often want to copy their parents at a young age!
For more information: www.childrensdentistry.com
Parents, especially new ones, are often surprised to learn that their child could benefit from visiting the dentist before the age of 1. Here are 7 reasons why it is recommended:
- Teeth can decay as soon as they appear in the mouth, so even a 6-month-old baby can get cavities!
- The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states that cavity rates have increased for children ages 2-5 in the last decade.
- Most all dental problems are preventable! See the dentist early and get educated about preventive dental care. Your child will thank you for it!
- Dental problems only get worse with time. In some cases if decay is caught early, there are therapies that can reverse or minimize their growth.
- Children with less dental problems are more likely to grow up to be adults with positive attitudes about going to the dentist.
- The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends initial checkups for children no later than age 1.
- Check-ups for children under 3 are often free at pediatric dental offices!
Many parents often ask, “But how will you handle my child? He/she will not cooperate at this age.” At age 1, we generally only do an initial examination which lasts about a minute and with no discomfort to your child.
One of the most heartbreaking problems I see as a pediatric dentist is when a baby has tooth decay and infection that requires the removal of his/her baby teeth. Like many things in a young child’s life, this is something that we as parents can help prevent.
For more information please visit www.childrensdentistry.com!
Very often parents call us (some in a panic) concerned that their child’s permanent teeth are growing in but their baby teeth are not falling out. This occurrence is actually very common and I typically explain the following to parents:
- Baby teeth get loose and come out because the permanent teeth that usually grow in directly underneath them shrink the root of the baby tooth, thus making the baby tooth “rootless” so that it becomes loose enough to fall out.
- If the permanent tooth does not grow in directly underneath the baby tooth, the baby tooth will not get “pushed out”. This occurrence most commonly occurs on the lower front teeth (incisors) between the ages of 5-7 but can also occur in other teeth in the mouth as well. We often see permanent lower incisors growing in behind the lower baby incisors.
For most kids, having a second row of teeth will be temporary as the baby tooth will gradually fall out on their own. As soon as the permanent tooth erupts, parents should encourage their child to wiggle their baby tooth back and forth and also in a twisting motion. Some kids are willing and excited about doing this and others will refuse completely.
If the baby tooth is not showing signs of loosening, I recommend that it be removed by a dentist so that the permanent tooth can grow into its proper position. I will typically make this recommendation when the permanent incisor is at least half way erupted and the baby tooth is not getting more loose over time.
Thus, consider visiting your dentist if it appears that the baby tooth is not on its way out. If you do have to make that visit to the dentist, please know that in these circumstances, removal of a baby tooth is generally a painless and quick procedure that most kids tolerate just fine! Most of our patients go home with a smile excited about getting a visit from the tooth fairy!