Monday, October 14, 2013

4 Tips to a Beautiful Healthy Smile

October is National Dental Hygiene Month and this year is the 100th Anniversary since the founding of the dental hygiene specialty. As part of National Dental Hygiene Month our own registered dental hygienist, Michelle Law, wants to share with parents some essential tips on how to keep a healthy smile, courtesy of the American Dental Hygiene Association and the American Dental Association.

1. Brush
Tooth brushing plays an important daily role for personal oral hygiene.  Whether you use a manual toothbrush or an electric toothbrush, brushing for at least 2 minutes twice a day is crucial.  Research shows that brushing for 2 minutes is the single most important method for reducing plaque and preventing cavities, gingivitis and other plaque related diseases.

2. Floss
Flossing is an essential  part of any oral health care routine.  By flossing daily, you help remove plaque from the areas between your teeth where the toothbrush can't reach.  This is important because plaque that is not removed by brushing and flossing can eventually harden into calcified deposits also know as tartar.  Flossing also helps prevent gum disease and cavities. And don't forget, children need to floss too!  Did you know that as soon as your child has a few teeth touch, its time to start flossing their teeth?  Because flossing demands more manual dexterity than very young children have, children are not usually able to floss well without parents help until they are age 10 or 11.

3. Rinse
Mouth rinses are used for a variety of reasons: to freshen breath, to help prevent or control tooth decay, to reduce plaque, to prevent or reduce gingivitis, to reduce the speed that tarter forms on the teeth, or to produce a combination of these effects. Please remember, anti-microbial rinses are not recommended for children under the age of 6.  Most studies indicate that its safe for children age 6 and above because they are able to spit, therefore, unlikely to swallow the mouthwash.

4. Gum Chewing
It's true, the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs awarded the Seal to several  brands of chewing gum after finding that the physical action of chewing certain sugarless gums for 20 minutes after eating, stimulates saliva flow, which helps prevent cavities by reducing acids thereby making teeth more resistant to decay. It is not recommended that children under age 4 chew gum as they are more likely to swallow it.

Help us celebrate this month and beyond, 100 years of advancements in oral healthcare, by adding these easy and effective tips to (you and) your children's daily routine. Michelle looks forward to seeing great results at your child's next visit.

Monday, September 30, 2013


Halloween and its accompanying candy can be a scary time for teeth. October is National Orthodontic Health Month, celebrated by orthodontists throughout the U.S.  The doctors at Pediatric Dental Specialists want to remind patients and the entire community that even though Halloween treats can play tricks on orthodontic treatment, there are a few quick tips to keep teeth safe from decay, and protect braces, orthodontic “appliances” during the Halloween season.

Stay away from hard, sticky, crunchy or chewy candy and snacks. These include hard or chewy candies, caramel, licorice, taffy, bubblegum (even the sugarless kind) and jelly beans.

Patients want to steer away from hard-shelled peanut candies, nuts or nut-filled candies, taco chips and popcorn (especially unpopped kernels). And whether in orthodontic treatment or not, Dr. Planells says no one should ever chew ice.

Good alternatives include soft chocolates, peanut butter cups or other melt-in-your-mouth varieties. The American Association of Orthodontists even offers orthodontic-friendly recipes for Halloween on the website

Brushing and flossing are more important than ever during the Halloween season, when teeth may receive more exposure to sweets that can cause cavities. Orthodontic patients should be especially conscientious about brushing and flossing after consuming sugary or starchy foods.

It is possible to enjoy some traditional candies at Halloween without causing problems with braces. Everyone really wants to have fun on this holiday, and we encourage patients to enjoy treats that are acceptable, rather than feel that they are missing out.   It’s important to remember that when patients’ orthodontic treatment is complete, and they see their new smiles in the mirror, they will know all of their efforts now were worthwhile.

Friday, June 14, 2013

10 Summer Water Safety Tips

As summer approaches, statistics show we spend more time outdoors participating in a wide variety of sports, a good portion of those are water sports, sprinklers, and swimming activities. Taking some simple safety precautions can make for great fun over the summer months.  Second to drowning accidents, more dental injuries occur to both kids and adults during this time. The National Safety Council states 75% of the injured will involve persons 19 years and under, and almost twice as many boys as girls will be hurt
Water related dental injuries
Many severe injuries result from falling on slippery walkways and decks and falling from diving boards and ladders. Diving and jumping into shallow water also are major causes of serious injuries, as well as swimming laps with eyes closed can lead to a fractured tooth by hitting the concrete wall at the end of the pool. The good news is that the majority of these injuries are preventable.

Here are 10 water safety tips to avoid dental and bodily injuries this summer:
    1. Walk, don’t run.
   2. Make the pool deck non-slippery as possible.
   3. Install barriers around the pool.
   5. Always swim with a buddy.
   6. Ensure that everyone in the family learns to swim well. 
   8.  Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear life jackets.
   9. Cover the pool properly.
  10. Wear a custom-made mouth guard and goggles when diving to prevent dental trauma.
For more information about water safety speak with your dentist, pediatrician, or check out the  “Sun and Water Safety Tips” from the American Academy of Pediatrics .

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Mother's Day is May 12, 2013...How will you Celebrate?

Mother’s Day -- which falls on Sunday, May 12 this year -- is a time to let the mother figure in our life (our mother, foster mother, wife…) know how special she is.
As you know, the day is observed by giving gifts, visiting our moms or taking them out to brunch. Tell us, what are you planning on your mom's special day? Do you have any special family traditions?

Out of ideas? Did you know that surveys show that mother’s preferred gift is a little rest and relaxation. Click here for 25 Awesome Gift Ideas.

Whatever you come up with, we're sure mom is going to absolutely love it!
Here at Pediatric Dental Specialists we know how hard moms work to juggle dental and orthodontic appointments along with all the other details of raising kids.
So in honor of Mother’s Day we would like to give away a $50 gift card for a Manicure and Pedicure to one deserving mother. Enter to win by posting your mother’s day tradition or comment on our Facebook page. The winning name will be drawn on Friday May 9, 2013.

Monday, April 1, 2013

April is National Facial Protection Month


April is National Facial Protection Month, and the American Academy of Pediatrics together with the American Academy of Orthodontics encourages children and adults to take the necessary precautions to prevent injuries common in to those who participate in sports. Dr. Cortez, Dr. Sanchez and Dr. Planells at Pediatric Dental Specialists in Long Beach want to remind parents, coaches and athletes to play it safe as they prepare to suit up for recreational and organized sports. A child’s mouth and face can be easily injured if the proper precautions are not used while playing sports. In fact, according to the Center for Disease Control, more than half of the 7 million sports- and recreation-related injuries that occur each year are sustained by youth as young as 5 years old. Last year, the National Youth Sports Safety Foundation forecasted that more than 3 million teeth would be knocked out in youth sporting events – yet, in a survey commissioned by the American Association of Orthodontists, 67% of parents admit that their child does not wear a mouth guard during organized sports. This raises a question: if mouth guards offer a simple and relatively inexpensive solution to help dramatically decrease the risk of oral and injuries, why aren’t more kids wearing them? Parents are encouraged to talk with their dental professionals about the right mouth guards for their young athletes, and to urge coaches to require that young athletes wear their mouth guards at every practice and every game.

4 Tips for Young Athletes to Play It Safe

1. Wear a helmet. Helmets absorb the energy of an impact and help prevent damage to one’s head.

2. Wear protective eyewear. Eyes are extremely vulnerable to damage, especially when playing sports.

3, Wear a face shield to avoid scratched or bruised skin. Hockey pucks, basketballs, and racquetballs can cause severe facial damage at any age.

4. Wear a mouth guard when playing contact sports (such as football, baseball, basketball, and soccer). Mouth guards can help prevent injury  to a person’s jaw, mouth and teeth; and they are significantly less expensive than the cost to repair an injury.
April is the perfect time to get into the mouth guard habit. Wear one at every practice and every game.