How Can Genetics Impact Your Child’s Oral Health?

Last updated on August 29th, 2015 at 03:59 pm

Family DNAYour child’s oral health depends on a variety of different factors, including how often he or she brushes and flosses at home, the number of times he or she visits the dentist, and even genetics. Like many other aspects of your health, oral health is affected to a degree by your genes. While a majority of oral health issues are caused by poor habits, there are some oral health problems that can be inherited. As a parent, you have the ability to help your child maintain a healthy smile for a lifetime. By knowing what factors play a role in the health of your child’s mouth, you can take the proper steps to ensure that your child will develop healthy teeth and gums.

One of the most common issues that people know to be passed down from generation to generation are crooked teeth. If you have crooked teeth or had to have braces at some point, there is a good chance that your child will also be born with crooked teeth. Misaligned teeth can also result from having too small a jaw, another feature that is a product of your genetic makeup. A small jaw doesn’t always allow enough room for adult teeth to come in, so they become overcrowded. Fortunately, there are several different orthodontic procedures that can help correct these issues. Children are encouraged to have their teeth checked at a young age (usually by the time the first baby tooth erupts), so these issues can be detected and treated early on. Interceptive orthodontics can be used to treat patients as early as age 5. This can sometimes completely eliminate the need for treatment in the future.

Recent research has also found a genetic link to periodontitis. Periodontitis, also known as gum disease, is a leading cause of early tooth loss. It often occurs in members of the same family, and some forms can develop during childhood. Up to 30% of the population may be genetically susceptible to developing periodontitis. Studies have found that if you as a parent have periodontitis, your child is 12 times more likely to have the same bacteria that leads to gum disease. In addition, those who were born with an immune deficiency are up to 20 times more likely to develop periodontitis.

Another common problem amongst children is cavities. According to Oral Health in America: A Report of the Surgeon General, tooth decay is the most common chronic disease amongst children. Over 50% of children ages 5-9 have at least one cavity, and 78% of teenagers around age 17 also have at least one cavity. Similar to the development of gum disease, your child might be prone to cavities because of certain genetic variations.

If any of these oral health issues run in your family, talk to your dentist to find out if your child might be at a higher risk of developing any of these problems. Knowing that these issues might exist in their genetic make-up can make it easier to prevent problems from persisting down the road. There are plenty of preventative measures and treatments that can be done to combat most all types of oral health problems. Schedule regular check-ups, and ask your dentist what you can do at home to help your child maintain healthy teeth and gums.

Baby Silk

Last updated on August 31st, 2015 at 12:47 am

Editor’s Note: we first introduced you to Baby Silk in December of 2009. With all the new products they’ve developed since then, we thought now might be a perfect time to re-introduce them to you. Also, this gives you the chance to meet the MD Moms 2014 Charity of the Year: UCPlay. **************************************************************************************************************************

Hi, we’re Dr. Diane Truong and Dr. JJ Levenstein, pediatricians and founders of MD Moms, makers of Baby Silk, the first personal care line for babies developed by pediatrician-moms. As pediatricians and moms, we’ve cared for thousands of children for nearly a quarter of a century. Baby Silk LineIt’s no surprise that during this time we’ve fielded hundreds of questions from concerned parents about common skin conditions and the safety and efficacy of the products available to treat them. One of the most common questions asked in our practices was, “How do I treat my baby’s cradle cap?” Cradle cap, for those unfamiliar, is a greasy, flaky rash that develops on the scalps of many newborns in the first few months of life. As parents ourselves, we couldn’t find any baby products on the market for our own children with ingredients that made sense (i.e., there were plenty of oily emulsions out there, but none with specific keratolytic or exfoliating ingredients). Our solution? To make one ourselves. But we didn’t stop at cradle cap. Because parents also asked about how to treat skin conditions such as diaper rash and dry skin, we created a full line of skincare solutions for babies.

Building MD Moms from the ground up meant we’d need to make sacrifices, but we believed strongly enough in our vision that it was more than worth the investment. With the help of a consultant, feedback from our own patients and a veteran cosmetics formulator from a respected research and development laboratory, our Baby Silk line—inspired by our Gentle Scalp Rub—was born in 2006. In our early stages, we borrowed against all of our assets (college fund, savings, and our home and retirement accounts) so that we could fund the first couple of years of MD Moms until we started to see an increase in sales. Personal time was spent traveling, arranging promotional events and taking part in weekend meetings and special projects. And when we weren’t treating our patients, we spent many late nights rebottling, repacking and shipping thousands of promos.

Because safety is our top priority, each of our products undergoes strict clinical testing and exceeds industry guidelines for safety. We use the latest medical data to ensure that each is effective, gentle and safe for infants. We further validate our products’ gentleness and safety by performing RIPT (repeat insult patch testing on sensitive subjects) to assure that our products are least likely to irritate baby’s skin. All of our products rated “0” on a 1-5 scale (perfect, hypoallergenic, non-irritating score) in the first round of testing. Additionally, we enlist a chemist and Pharm D Safety Assessor to review the chemical specifications and toxicological profiles of our ingredients to ensure that they are safe and fulfill the needs of our young consumers. And with the needs of our little patients in mind, we’re continually working to enhance and improve upon our line.

We know we’ve accomplished our mission when we hear from parents who were elated to find us after unsuccessfully searching for solutions to their little ones’ skin conditions. Also, our company has made it possible for us to raise awareness of the UCPlay Project, our children’s Charity of the Year for 2014, which brings brings creative, sensory and highly interactive performing arts programming into public schools for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and other developmental disabilities. We’re fortunate to be able to address children’s needs—whether it’s through charity or our Baby Silk line—and will continue to look for ways to improve the health and lives of children.

HEALTHFUL HINTS 

Q: Aside from using Gentle Scalp Rub, what else can I do to treat my baby’s cradle cap?

A: Cradle cap is best treated by removing the crusts and flakes on baby’s scalp with an oil-based shampoo. Shampoos with an oily base essentially soften the greasy scales, and separate the scales from the baby’s hair. When combined with a gentle exfoliator, like salicylic acid (a derivative of aspirin), the flakes will be easier to rub or comb off the baby’s scalp.

Q: Are there different types of sunscreen?

A: Yes. A variety of sunscreens exist to provide protection from sun exposure: chemical sunscreens, physical sunscreens, or a combination of both.

Chemical sunscreens absorb UV radiation on the skin, then disperse this energy into harmless rays. They are made from active ingredients like octyl methoxycinnamate, octyl salicylate, octocrylene, and oxybenzone (which provide UVB protection) or avobenzone (which provides UVA protection). Chemical sunscreens require 20 minutes to activate, and ideally should be applied in 2 coats 20-30 minutes apart, before going outside.

Physical sunscreens (containing titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide) are not absorbed into the skin, but rather sit on its surface and reflect, scatter and block UVA and UVB rays. These ingredients are less irritating, in general, and are immediately active upon application. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Dermatology advocate their use in children, and even in infants under the age of 6 months if direct sun exposure cannot be avoided.

Some sunscreens combine both chemical and physical agents in order to provide broad spectrum protection. Our sunscreen uses only physical agents to provide both UVA and UVB protection.

Q: How can I prevent diaper rash on my baby?

A: The best way to prevent diaper rash is to keep your baby’s bottom clean and dry at all times. Since this is not always possible, using a barrier cream to keep baby’s skin from coming into direct contact with irritants in a dirty diaper will help.

Q: Why is my baby’s skin dry?

A: A newborn’s skin dries out almost immediately after birth, as baby transitions from the moist environment of the womb to his or her new environment in the outside world. Within the first 2-3 weeks of life, a newborn’s skin will typically flake and shed, regardless of what a parent does. After that point, if your baby’s skin continues to feel dry, regular application of a moisturizer can make a difference.

Saturday, AMC Sensory Friendly Films will show The LEGO Movie

Last updated on September 21st, 2014 at 07:34 pm

Sensory Friendly Films logoOnce a month, AMC Entertainment (AMC) and the Autism Society have teamed up to bring families affected by autism and with other special needs ”Sensory Friendly Movie Screenings“ – a wonderful opportunity to enjoy their favorite “family-friendly” films in a safe and accepting environment.

The movie auditoriums will have their lights turned up and the sound turned down. Families will be able to bring in snacks to match their child’s dietary needs (i.e. gluten-free, casein-free, etc.), there are no advertisements or previews before the movie and it’s totally acceptable to get up and dance, walk, shout, talk to each other…and even sing – in other words, AMC’s “Silence is Golden®” policy will not be enforced during movie screenings unless the safety of the audience is questioned.

Does it make a difference? Absolutely! “It can be challenging enough to bring ANY child to a movie Lego Movietheater” says PedSafe Special Needs Parenting Expert Rosie Reeves.  “For a parent with a special needs child attempting an outing like this may seem overwhelming. And yet getting out, being with the community and sharing in an experience with an audience can be invaluable for just such children”.

On Saturday October 5th at 10am local time, The LEGO Movie will be screened as part of the Autism Society “Sensory Friendly Movie Screenings” program. Tickets are $4 to $6 depending on the location. To find a theatre near you, here is a list of AMC theatres nationwide participating in this fabulous program (note: to access list, please scroll to the bottom of the page).

Coming March 29thMuppets Most Wanted

****************************************************************************************************************************

Editor’s note: Although The LEGO Movie has been chosen by the Autism Society as this month’s Sensory Friendly screening, we do want parents to know that it is rated PG by the Motion Picture Association of America for mild action and rude humor. As always, please check the IMDB Parent’s Guide for a more detailed description of this film to determine if it is right for you and your child.

Helping Your Baby Communicate and Develop

Last updated on February 17th, 2014 at 10:43 am

Helping Baby CommunicateFrom the day he was born, your baby has been trying to communicate with you. That’s what all the crying, smiling, cooing, and babbling have been about. He’s saying, “I’m hungry,” “I’m sleepy,” “You make me happy,” and “I love you.” With each passing day, his communication skills improve. Sometime around your baby’s first birthday, he’ll probably come out with his first real word.

What’s more, speech development and social skills go hand in hand. Learning how to express his thoughts, wants, and needs will eventually help your child learn to connect with the people around him and become a sociable toddler. How can you support this amazing process?

  • Help your child find words. At 6 to 12 months, your baby isn’t ready to start talking yet, but when he puts forth a syllable, she’s making an attempt at words. So when she says, “ba,” help him out: “Are you looking for your ball? Do you want your bottle? Where did you put your book?” Speak slowly and enunciate clearly so she can hear the different sounds and connect them to what they mean.
  • Pay attention to your child’s nonverbal communications. Speech isn’t the only means of communication your baby will use. Between 8 and 12 months, she may start sending more and more nonverbal messages by pointing, gesturing, looking at what she wants, making faces, and even dancing. Grabbing a toy and banging it on the table may mean, “May I have your attention, please?” or “I’m so happy with my truck!” Whatever he does, take notice and respond.
  • Have conversations with your child. While you can’t expect your baby to talk back at this age, asking questions and waiting for a response teaches her the rhythm of conversation: You talk and I listen, then I talk and you listen. And don’t forget to respond when your little one cuts loose with baby babble. You may not understand her words, but your response will encourage her to keep trying.
  • Narrate your day. Tell your baby what you’re doing, ask her what she wants, and name what you’re seeing: “Let’s go find your blocks. Do you want the red ball or the blue one? Oh, look! There’s your stuffed bear.” Rest assured that even though she can’t reply with words yet, she’s listening to and learning from everything you say.
  • Read to your child. Sharing books is an important way to support your baby’s early childhood development. It reinforces the power of words and helps your child move forward on the road to literacy, language, and learning.



Child Health & Safety News Roundup: 02-03-2014 to 02-09-2014

Last updated on March 2nd, 2018 at 02:32 pm

twitter thumbWelcome to Pediatric Safety’s weekly “Child Health & Safety News Roundup”- a recap of the past week’s child health and safety news headlines from around the world.

Each day we use Twitter to communicate relevant and timely health and safety information to the parents, medical professionals and other caregivers who follow us. Occasionally we may miss something, but we think overall we’re doing a pretty good job of keeping you informed. But for our friends and colleagues who are not on Twitter (or who are but may have missed something), we offer you a recap of the past week’s top 15 events & stories.

PedSafe Headline of the Week:
Children’s Hospital doctor warns of the dangers of hair straighteners to youngsters after burn cases double in one year  http://t.co/w3tLIDjNYP

Time for Colds and The Flu: What Can You & Your Family Do?

Last updated on August 30th, 2015 at 03:14 pm

All the bugs and bacteria that plague human kind are essentially trapped indoors over the cold winter months: windows seldom get opened and cars are sealed shut with the heat on, schools harbor a variety of illnesses and are also sealed shut with temperatures way too high. It’s no wonder that this is a perfect season to share whatever cold or Flu with your closest neighbor. Young children, especially, are not the poster kids for hygiene, and touching and tasting the environment gives infants and toddlers a window on the world. Illnesses that get started in your child can spread rapidly to all members of the family.

Children Flu Sneeze Elbow SickViral infections and Flu are composed of minute particles that are just waiting for an opportunity to invade the next host. The easiest way to gain entry to the human body is through the mucous membranes that we all have – moist skin that you seldom think about; inside your nose, throat, lining your eyeballs, etc. Once they gain entry they invade normal cells and begin to replicate, reproducing themselves and in so doing, alter or kill the host cells. Whichever cells are involved and how your body reacts to the invasion will dictate the symptoms that you will experience. Most invasions are short lived and most for the purposes of this post are in the respiratory tract, upper (nose and throat) and lower (trachea and lungs).

How to cure a “cold” has been a mystery for scientists forever, but since they are short lived and generally do not produce major problems it has never been worth the resources to attempt multiple and complicated testing to nail down a cure. So viral colds live on and disrupt many lifestyles along the way. The favorite medicines in the world to attempt to cure just about anything are antibiotics, but to do so will not only have no effect on the cold but can cause problems of their own – resistances by bacteria to the antibiotic and reactions to that medicine. So we are left with “taking care” of the cold with various simple measures. Over the counter cold medicines have been shown to have very little effect on the symptoms or length of a cold and also have unwanted side effects.

How to prevent a cold or Flu, or viral illness from spreading is the main issue. Since these particles gain entry through mucus membranes, and are usually carried to that area by contact with your own colonized hands, it is very important to wash hands regularly and completely. Too often this is a cursory act of applying soap and washing it off, but scrubbing the hands for about 20 seconds (enough time to sing “Happy Birthday” twice) is usually necessary to do an adequate job. Avoid touching your face as most mucus membranes are in that area, especially your eyes. Of course the group that is most important (children) is not usually compliant with these issues, so you must teach this at home. Spread can also occur by droplets pushed into the air by coughing and sneezing and then transferred to others on your hands. Sneeze into the inside of your elbow and avoid spreading droplets into the air around you.

Unfortunately simple apparent cures, taking extra vitamins, etc. have been shown to have very little if any effect on a cold.

So, bear with it, it will be over soon, and do your best not to share it with anyone. And remember to get Flu immunization for your entire family (age six months and older) as soon as it comes out on the market, and since some Flu seasons can last into April get that Flu vaccine even in early March if you missed it at the end of last year.