Tuesday, October 27, 2009

BOO! A few Ghoulish Halloween Recipes!

October is National Orthodontic Health Month. In our office we are celebrating Halloween by sponsoring a Candy Buy-Back Program for existing patients whereby patients can bring in their Halloween candy on November 2, 2009 and receive $1.00 for each pound of candy they turn in.

In addition we are holding a Coloring Contest, whereby patients of the practice are encouraged to submit a colored National Orthodontic Health Month Coloring Sheet. The winner will be selected on November 2, 2009 and receive a $20 gift certificate.

Patients with braces are encouraged to avoid treats that "Can Play Tricks on Your Braces." These include foods that are hard, sticky or chewy- like:

Hard Nuts
Hard Pretzels

Here are some Braces-Friendly Halloween Recipes provided by the American Association of Orthodontics. Enjoy Halloween fun with these howling-good treats that won’t trick your braces.

Scary Jigglers
2 1/2 cups boiling water
(Do not add cold water)
2 pkg. gelatin (any flavor, but we recommend Orange,
Grape or Lime for Halloween)
Halloween-shaped cookie cutters*

Stir boiling water into gelatin in a large bowl 3 minutes until
completely dissolved. Pour into 13x9-inch pan. Refrigerate
at least 3 hours or until firm (gelatin does not stick to finger
when touched).
Dip bottom of pan in warm water for about 15 seconds. Cut
into 24 decorative shapes using 2-inch cookie cutters, making
sure to cut all of the way through the gelatin to the bottom of
the pan. Remove from pan. Store in tightly covered container in
* If serving to small children, consider using smaller cookie cutters to
make bites more manageable.

Almond Sugar Cookie Cut-Outs
Cut this easy-to-assemble dough into ghost shapes for
Halloween. Decorate with Super Easy Ornamental Frosting.
1 cup butter (softened)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
1 egg
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon baking soda

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add the egg,
vanilla extract and almond extract flavorings.
Combine the dry ingredients in separate bowl. Next, add the
dry ingredients (by 1/2 cup measurements) to the butter/sugar
mixture. Mix with a mixer on medium speed. Chill the dough
for 2 - 3 hours or overnight, or “quick chill” in the freezer until
very firm, for about 30 - 45 minutes.
To Bake:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Separate the dough into fourths and
roll each section until it is about 1/8 - 1/4 inch thickness, and
using a 2 1/2 inch ghost-shaped cookie cutter, cut into desired
shape. Bake 7 - 9 minutes or until the edges just begin to brown.

Super Easy Ornamental Frosting
16 oz. powdered sugar
3 tablespoons meringue powder
1/3 cup of warm water

Combine all the ingredients and mix at medium speed until
smooth. Spread the frosting on each cutout. For spreading
consistency, thin icing by adding tablespoons of warm water.
Please note: it doesn’t take more than one or two tablespoons
to thin the icing.

Use a tube of chocolate cake decorator frosting, or small dabs of
chocolate frosting on a knifepoint, to make ghost eyes.

Halloween Parfait
w 3 boxes instant vanilla pudding
(enough to make 12 one-half cup servings)
1 teaspoon red food coloring
1/2 teaspoon yellow food coloring
One 9-ounce package plain chocolate wafers
6 cups milk
Chocolate syrup to taste
One 8-ounce can mandarin oranges, drained

Combine pudding mix and milk in large bowl as directed on
the package. Refrigerate until firm. Crush chocolate wafers into
crumbs, using a food processor, or put the wafers into a zip-lock
bag and crush with a rolling pin.
Combine red and yellow food coloring in a small bowl. Stir into
pudding thoroughly, until pudding is orange. Alternate layers of
pudding with layers of chocolate crumbs in a parfait cup or glass
for a total of three layers of pudding. Top each layer of crumbs
with chocolate syrup to taste before adding the next pudding
layer. Top each parfait with mandarin oranges and additional
chocolate wafer crumbs. Makes eight 8-ounce servings.

Have a happy and safe Halloween! From Pediatric Dental Specialists

Monday, October 26, 2009

Write a Review of Pediatric Dental Specialists!

Whether you have visited Pediatric Dental Specialists for weeks, months or years, we'd love to hear your feedback about Dr. Cortez, Dr. Sanchez or Dr. Planells. Or perhaps the team! Now with the Internet, it’s even easier to write your thoughts and share them with the world. We'd want to encourage you to write a review of us. It only takes a moment!

You may write your review here.

Thank you and have a great week!

--Pediatric Dental Specialists

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sour Candy and Halloween

Halloween is almost upon us, and Dr. Cortez understands sour candy is a part of any Halloween celebration. But while sour candy can be delicious, they are arguably as unhealthy for your teeth as sweet candy. The reason is, sour candies tend to be very acidic, and are capable of burning your cheeks and gums while wearing down the enamel on your teeth.

In 2008, the Minnesota Dental Association released a study which suggested the amount of acid in sour candies may eat away at tooth enamel and cause cavities. We at Pediatric Dental Specialists would like to remind you that if you should experience a craving for sour candies on Halloween or in the future, please:

1. Remember to rinse your mouth with water immediately after consuming candy, drink milk, or eat a couple pieces of cheese.

2. Do not brush immediately after consuming sour candy. The candy's acidic nature tends to soften tooth enamel. Brushing your teeth can mean abrading the enamel.

3. Limit the amount of sour candies that you consume on a daily basis. If you do indulge, remember not to suck or chew on sour candies for long periods of time.

If tooth erosion has already begun, ask us about ways to reduce sensitivity and continue to protect your teeth.

Hope this helps! Dr. Cortez and his staff wish you a happy and safe Halloween!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Preventing Gum Disease and Protecting your Teeth!

It is estimated that around 80 percent of American adults are currently diagnosed with some form of gum disease. Also known as, periodontal disease or periodontitis, gum disease starts with gum inflammation and can end with major damage to the bone and tissue holding the teeth in place, resulting in tooth loss and irreversible damage to the gums. Many doctors and researchers have also found gum disease to be the cause of several other health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, and complications for women during pregnancy. Gum disease is a serious dental health condition, and by understanding how gum disease is caused, what symptoms to look for, and how you can prevent it, you will be able to keep your smile healthy for many years to come.

What causes gum disease?

Your mouth is full of bacteria, and when the bacteria are left in your mouth, it can cause a sticky, colorless film over your tooth surface called plaque. Brushing your teeth regularly and flossing can help to remove much of the plaque build-up on your teeth; however, if you do not brush and floss regularly, the plaque on your teeth can harden and turn into tartar. Tartar cannot be removed by a toothbrush, only your dentist has the special tools needed to remove tartar from your tooth’s surface.

Eventually, if left untreated, the tartar and plaque on your teeth will cause gingivitis. Gingivitis is the early stage of gum disease and is usually curable if caught early enough. Signs of gingivitis include:

• Red, swollen gums
• Gums that bleed when you brush and floss
• Gums that pull away from your teeth
• Pockets between your teeth and gums where food gets caught
• Persistent bad breath

If you have gingivitis, and it is left untreated, you may end up with gum disease. Gum disease causes the gums to pull completely away from the teeth and form infected pockets. The bacteria in your mouth and on your teeth will start to break down the tissue and bone that supports your teeth and holds them in place. Gum disease that is left untreated will lead to the extraction or loss of teeth. Most people do not show signs of gingivitis and gum disease until they are in their 30s, 40s, or older. Certain risk factors can increase your chance of getting gum disease, including:

• Smoking
• Diabetes
• Stress
• Certain prescription medications
• Illness
• Genetics

How can I prevent gum disease?

You can help your chances of never getting gingivitis or gum disease simply by taking care of your teeth and gums on a regular basis. Here are some of the ways you can help keep your smile healthy:

• Brush your teeth at least twice a day using fluoride toothpaste approved by the ADA.
• Floss at least once every day to remove food stuck between your teeth and along the gum line.
• Visit your dentist for routine, general checkups and teeth cleaning every six months.
• Eat a well balanced diet, including fruits and vegetables.
• Stay away from using tobacco products of any kind.

Gingivitis and gum disease are both preventable and treatable. If you would like a list of recommended dental health care products, or have any questions about gingivitis, gum disease, and how to keep your teeth and gums healthy, please ask us at your next dental checkup. Our practice is happy to answer any questions you may have, and provide you with accurate information to help you maintain the health of your smile in between office visits. If you think you may have any form of gingivitis or gum disease, please contact our practice at
(562) 377-1375 to schedule an appointment as soon as possible.

-Pediatric Dental Specialists

Thursday, October 8, 2009

National Dental Hygiene Month

Did you know that October is National Dental Hygiene Month? Fall is here, and Halloween is coming soon, but now it is more important than ever to maintain good oral hygiene.

All those sweet, sour and sticky candies may taste great, but these treats can damage your teeth and braces too! Did you know sour candies can be acidic to your teeth, and actually wear down the enamel that protects them? This can cause tooth decay and cavities! After eating these candies, be sure to wash your mouth out with water, drink milk or eat a few slices of cheese. These will help neutralize the acid in your mouth (wait at least one hour before brushing your teeth with toothpaste, as this can actually increase the effects of acid on your teeth)

Besides cavities and tooth decay, many people do not realize that good oral health and hygiene are important to your overall health too! Research is discovering the connection between periodontal disease and other major health concerns, such as heart disease! Therefore, it is important to maintain a good oral hygiene routine: see Pediatric Dental Specialists every six months, brush and floss daily and use an antibacterial mouthwash.

Make a resolution to improve your oral health for October, the National Dental Hygiene Month!

--Pediatric Dental Specialists, Long Beach CA