Thursday, April 30, 2009

Pediatric Dental Specialists Want to Know if Your Playground is Safe

Summer is coming and that means your kids will be spending lots of time outside. Playgrounds are everywhere from your backyard to the neighborhood park. It is important to know what safety features to look for before your child runs over to jump on a swing.

At Pediatric Dental Specialists, we found some important regulations on the American Association of Pediatricians' web site. They include what to look for on a public playground and tips on ensuring your home swing set is functioning properly.

Here is to a Happy and Safe Summer from Pediatric Dental Specialist!

--Carefully supervise young children using playground equipment. Keep children from shoving, pushing, or fighting.

--The surface under playground equipment should be energy absorbent. Use safety - tested mats or loose fill materials (shredded rubber, sand, wood chips, or bark) maintained to a depth of at least 9 inches.

--Install the protective surface at least 6 feet (more for swings and slides) in all directions from the equipment.

--Swing seats should be made of something soft, not wood or metal.

--Children should not twist swings, swing empty seats, or walk in front of moving swings.

--Put home playground equipment together correctly. It should sit on a level surface and be anchored firmly to the ground.

--Cap all screws and bolts. Check periodically for loose nuts and bolts and broken, rusty, or sharp parts.

--Install playground equipment at least 6 feet from fences or walls.

--Check for hot metal surfaces on equipment such as those on slides, which could cause burns.

--Never attach ropes, jump ropes, clotheslines, or pet leashes to playground equipment because children can strangle on them.


Monday, April 20, 2009

How to Keep Your Kids Safe While Exercising in the Heat from Pediatric Dental Specialists

Summer is coming and it is important for your kids to be able to play outside in the sun. Here are some great tips from Pediatric Dental Specialists to make sure everyone stays safe!

--The intensity of activities that last 15 minutes or more should be reduced whenever high heat and humidity reach critical levels.

--At the beginning of a strenuous exercise program or after traveling to a warmer climate, the intensity and duration of exercise should be limited initially and then gradually increased during a period of 10 to 14 days to accomplish acclimatization to the heat.

--Before prolonged physical activity, the child should be well-hydrated. During the activity, periodic drinking should be enforced, for example, each 20 minutes, 5 oz of cold tap water or a flavored sports drink for a child weighing 90 lbs, and 9 oz for an adolescent weighing 130 lbs, even if the child does not feel thirsty.

--Clothing should be light-colored and lightweight and limited to one layer of absorbent material to facilitate evaporation of sweat. Sweat-saturated garments should be replaced by dry garments.

--Practices and games played in the heat should be shortened and more frequent water/hydration breaks should be instituted.

Any more questions, let us know at Pediatric Dental Specialists, we'd love to answer your questions!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

How to Have Fun in the Sun and Stay Safe from Pediatric Dental Specialists

At Pediatric Dental Specialists, we want to make sure that you are able to enjoy the sun this summer and keep you and your little ones safe. Here are some great tips broken down by age group.

Babies under 6 months:

--Avoiding sun exposure and dressing infants in lightweight long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and brimmed hats that shade the neck are still the top recommendations from the AAP to prevent sunburn. However when adequate clothing and shade are not available, parents can apply a minimal amount of suncreen with at least 15 SPF (sun protection factor) to small areas, such as the infant's face and the back of the hands. If an infant gets a sunburn, apply cold compresses to the affected area.

For Young Children:

---Apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes before going outside, and use sunscreen even on cloudy days. The SPF should be at least 15 and protect against UVA and UVB rays.

For Older Children:

--The first, and best, line of defense against the sun is covering up. Wear a hat with a three-inch brim or a bill facing forward, sunglasses (look for sunglasses that block 99-100% of ultraviolet rays), and cotton clothing with a tight weave.

--Stay in the shade whenever possible, and limit sun exposure during the peak intensity hours - between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

--Use a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or greater. Be sure to apply enough sunscreen - about one ounce per sitting for a young adult.

--Reapply sunscreen every two hours, or after swimming or sweating.

--Use extra caution near water, snow, and sand as they reflect UV rays and may result in sunburn more quickly.

If you have more questions, don't hesitate to contact us at Pediatric Dental Specialists!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Dr. Ana Planells Answers All Your Teeth Questions

At Pediatric Dental Specialists, we know just how important it is to keep your teeth healthy and in tip top shape. There are lots of things that affect your teeth and you may have questions that you forget to ask your dentist. So we had Dr. Ana Planells explain some commonly wondered about teeth concepts. Got more questions? Give us a call at Pediatric Dental Specialists. We'd love to discuss your teeth with you.

Can fingernail biting cause damage to my teeth? What about lip biting or biting the ends of pencils?

Fingernail biting, lip biting or biting the ends of pencils can all have harmful effects on the teeth. Nail biting/pencil biting can cause wear of the teeth and lead to chipping and cracking of the enamel. Lip biting can cause damage to the lips as well as move the teeth resulting in a change of the bite.

It is said that the changing seasons can have an effect on your body and joints. Can the seasons changing also have an effect on the way the mouth feels?

The changing seasons can cause individuals to suffer from seasonal allergies. A side effect of the seasonal allergies may be an increase in mouth breathing. Mouth breathing can result in a drying of the gums and cause the mouth to feel “dry”. During these times it is important to drink plenty of water to keep the mouth moist.

5. Is sugar-free gum good for my teeth, or can it still cause cavities?

Research has shown that sugar-free gum can decrease the incidence of cavities. Chewing sugar-free gum increases the saliva flow which acts to: neutralizes plaque acids, and helps clear the food resulting in fewer cavities.

Please remember that chewing gum is not recommended for very small children. The American Gum Association states “There are no specific guidelines on when a child can start chewing gum -- each child's development is unique and variable. Ultimately, the parent or custodian is responsible for deciding at what age, and under what conditions, their children can consume any foodstuff or candy, including chewing gum, and to ensure that they are aware of and understand any potential choking hazards.

The main point to consider is whether the child knows the concept of chewing without swallowing and do they have a general understanding of the risks and consequences of choking.

6. Is a soft toothbrush or a medium toothbrush better for my teeth and gums?

Brushing your teeth and gums twice a day is recommended as part of a daily oral hygiene regimen. In order to avoid abrasion of the gums it is recommend that you always use a soft toothbrush.

Please visit the American Dental Association website to see an animation on proper brushing techniques.

9. If I play sports and use a mouthguard can constantly biting down on the hard rubber eventually cause my teeth to shift and become crooked?

A mouthguard should be worn during all sports and activities where injury to the mouth is likely in order to protect the mouth and teeth and jaws from injury. A mouthguard is made from a flexible piece of plastic material. Constantly biting down on the mouthguard is unlikely to cause teeth to shift and become crooked. A custom made mouthguard is made with an imprint of one’s own teeth and is not designed to put pressure on the teeth to shift them.
For more information on mouthguards visit the American Dental Association.

10. If my wisdom teeth came in straight, do I still need to get them removed?

If your wisdom teeth came in straight you should consult with your dentist to see if they need not be removed. Your dentist will evaluate their shape/form, the health of your gums surrounding these teeth as well as your bite to make that determination.