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Dental Advice for Parents of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

October 8th, 2020

Trips to the dental office can be difficult for anyone. And, children with special needs may require a greater level of care.

The good news is that a lot can be done to mitigate the chance of an unpleasant experience – all it takes is a little bit of planning and coaching to get there.

With that in mind, we put together a collection of useful approaches that will help you and your child navigate your first, or next, dental visit.

Visit Early

After the arrival of your child’s first tooth, you should already be on the docket for a visit to the dentist. Since autism spectrum disorders don’t commonly manifest until around the age of three, it is very important that you establish a dental home for your child with a dentist by age one.  This way if signs of autism spectrum are noted your child would already have an established relationship with a caring dental professional.

Avoiding the dentist until later in a child’s development, particularly until after problems arise (like cavities) can be problematic. Initiating the process of familiarization with the dentist at an early age reduces dental anxiety among all children, so go early.

Read Up!

You’re likely already familiar with the Autism Speaks website, and the wealth of supportive material regarding autism and your child.

You may not have noticed, though, their superb Dental Toolkit which features free iTunes downloadable books for kids, videos, and even materials you can share with your dentist about working with your child.

The standout item on the site, though, is a highly visual 34-page booklet created in partnership with the National Museum of Dentistry that covers everything from how to teach good oral hygiene to how to prepare for your routine dental visits.

Learn from the Doctor's Perspective

Your dentist may have more experience with special needs children than you realize. The best way to go about preparing for your visit is to speak with the doctor directly and ask what to expect.

The Dental Professionals’ Tool Kit will help you see inside that instruction and arm you with meaningful advice that isn’t always covered in offerings to parents. Anyone can download the material, dentist or not, so have a look-see!

Find a Doctor who Specializes

Finally, should you feel more comfortable doing so, seek out a dentist who specializes in dealing with children with autism.

Pediatric dentists pursue additional training that helps them cater to autistic patients. Such training is structured around reducing stress and making children feel comfortable both inside the dental office and at home.

Visiting the dentist doesn’t have to be a traumatic experience for you or your child. Hopefully the above information provides some direction for further exploration.

All Smiles Pediatric Dentistry

At All Smiles Pediatric Dentistry we specialize in treating children with special needsDr. Allen Job and his team are specially trained to see your child and provide resources for parents.

First, all of our forms are found online, where you can complete them from the comfort of your home.  So there is no waiting when you arrive.  Second, the colors on the walls and the amenities that we offer were thoughtfully chosen to give your child a warm and comfortable ambiance.  Third, we offer private patient rooms for patient care.  Fourth, we have an amazing staff members who will guide you if you have any questions about the process of scheduling an appointment to providing individual patient care.

Our practice is centrally located in San Diego, CA.

COVID-19 Precautions

Find out how we are protecting our patients and our staff with our improved safety protocol.

Get acquainted with us by watching our practice video and find out what we do.

Scheduling an appointment for your child is easy! Start here to schedule an appointment. All of our forms are online. Fill them out securely from your smartphone or tablet and hit send. On appointment day, your child will be seen at their scheduled time. For example, if you have a 9:00 AM appointment, your child will be seen at 9:00 AM.

Dr. Allen Job, DDS, MS, MPH, MS is a board certified pediatric dentist who practices in San Diego, California, where he specializes in prevention. For more than a decade, served as assistant professor for the Department of Pediatric Dentistry at Loma Linda University School of Dentistry (LLUSD). He is currently an instructor at LLUSD.

 

 

Are Dried Fruits Bad for My Child’s Teeth?

July 22nd, 2020

[caption id="attachment_1064" align="alignleft" width="640"] Are Dried Fruits Bad for my Child's Teeth[/caption]

Dried fruits are a convenient snack for busy families. Unless you’re drying the fruit yourself (go you!), you don’t have to wash or slice anything; just hand those kiddos a box of raisins and be out the door. Plus – you can feel good about adding to your kiddo’s servings of fruits for the day.

But…what about all that sticky, sugary goodness? Isn’t that a no-no when it comes to dental health? The quick answer is: it’s complicated.

What is Dried Fruit?

Dried fruit is simply fruit that has had its water removed to some extent, leaving a shriveled, smaller version of its original form. Compared to fresh fruit, it's more shelf-stable.

Some forms of dried fruit have sugar added to improve taste or texture. And some dried fruit is encrusted with sugar crystals or chocolate. What we recommend offering to your kiddos is the plain stuff – no sugar added.

How Might Dried Fruits Affect Teeth?

Dried fruits contain sugar, and have a sticky texture. Anything that’s sweet and sticks to your teeth for a long time has the potential to contribute to tooth decay. The longer that sugar sits on teeth, the happier your mouth bacteria are as they chomp away and produce the acid that can attack your enamel.

When we eat dried fruits, it’s easy to go overboard on the sugar. Typically when we eat dried fruits, we eat a lot more than the equivalent amount of fresh fruit. A handful of dried apricots looks a lot like the same quantity in our eyes as a single fresh one.

But don’t cross dried fruit off your shopping list just yet…

There are Benefits, Though

Dried fruits are still fruit, after all. That means they contain fiber, antioxidants, and other beneficial nutrients that are part of a healthy diet. Research tells us that some of these nutrients, such as polyphenols, actually help prevent the accumulation of plaque on teeth.

Other research theorizes that individual traits (such as the composition of bacteria in our mouths) have more to do with how a raisin will affect our teeth than the amount of sugar it contains.

You’d be surprised to learn how many other factors there are in relation to dried fruit’s effect on teeth. All in all, it appears there is insufficient evidence to conclude that dried fruit is, in fact, bad for our teeth.

So…hooray! Because there is some evidence to point toward dried fruit being beneficial for oral health in some ways, as well as containing important nutrients for our bodies, we say it’s a great option for hungry little tummies!

Again, you’re better off sticking with dried fruits that don’t have added sugars (though of course some yummy chocolate-covered fruits can be an occasional treat!). And offer some water to help wash anything sticky off teeth and down the hatch.

And, as always, maintain regular dental health visits with your child’s dentist to make sure their teeth are in good shape!

All Smiles Pediatric Dentistry

At All Smiles Pediatric Dentistry, we incorporate proven techniques to share with you and your child at each dental checkup visit. Dr. Allen Job and his team are committed to providing the latest in oral health care prevention. Check out our monthly blog posts! Our practice is centrally located in San Diego, CA.

COVID-19 Precautions

Find out how we are protecting our patients and our staff with our improved safety protocol.

Get acquainted with us by watching our practice video and find out what we do.

Scheduling an appointment for your child is easy! Start here to schedule an appointment. All of our forms are online. Fill them out securely from your smartphone or tablet and hit send. On appointment day, your child will be seen at their scheduled time. For example, if you have a 9:00 AM appointment, your child will be seen at 9:00 AM.

Dr. Allen Job, DDS, MS, MPH, MS is a board certified pediatric dentist who practices in San Diego, California, where he specializes in prevention. For more than a decade, served as assistant professor for the Department of Pediatric Dentistry at Loma Linda University School of Dentistry (LLUSD). He is currently an instructor at LLUSD.

COVID19 Response from All Smiles Pediatric Dentistry

May 8th, 2020

Dear Patient:

We hope this letter finds you and your family in good health. Our community has been through a lot over the last few months, and all of us are looking forward to resuming our normal habits and routines. While many things have changed, one thing has remained the same: our commitment to your safety.

Infection control has always been a top priority for our practice and you may have seen this during your visits to our office. Our infection control processes are made so that when you receive care, it’s both safe and comfortable. We want to tell you about the infection control procedures we follow in our practice to keep patients and staff safe.

Our office follows infection control recommendations made by the American Dental Association (ADA), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). We follow the activities of these agencies so that we are up-to-date on any new rulings or guidance that may be issued. We do this to make sure that our infection control procedures are current and adhere to each agencies’ recommendations.  Our employees will be following strict guidelines that include donning additional personal protective equipment (PPE), getting daily temperature readings, and being asked the screening questions each day.

We will be scheduling all appointments starting Monday May 18, 2020.  You may see some changes when it is time for your next appointment. We made these changes to help protect our patients and staff. For example:

  • We are limiting the number of people accompanying your child to one parent per child. If you have multiple children they are welcome to come with up to 2 parents. Please do not bring other family members or friends to the office at this time.
  • Our office will communicate with you beforehand to ask some screening questions. See the bottom of the page for the screening questions. If you or your child is experiencing any symptoms, please call our office to reschedule with at least a 24-hour notice. You’ll be asked those same questions again when you are in the office.
  • A temperature reading will be taking for every person entering the office.
  • We have hand sanitizer that we will ask you to use when you enter the office. You will also find some in the reception area and other places in the office for you to use as needed.
  • You may see that our waiting room will no longer offer magazines, children’s toys and so forth, since those items are difficult to clean and disinfect.
  • Appointments will be managed to allow for social distancing between patients. That might mean that you’re offered fewer options for scheduling your appointment.
  • We will do our best to allow greater time between patients to reduce waiting times for you, as well as to reduce the number of patients in the reception area at any one time.

We look forward to seeing you again and are happy to answer any questions you may have about the steps we take to keep you, and every patient, safe in our practice. To make an appointment, please call our office at 858-737-9000 or visit our website.

Thank you for being our patient. We value your trust and loyalty and look forward to welcoming back our patients, neighbors and friends.

Sincerely,

Dr. Allen Job & Team

 

Screening Questions for Parent/Guardian and Patient:

Have You (parent/guardian) or They (patient):

 

  1. Had a Fever, Cough, or Shortness of Breath in last 14-21 days?
  2. Had flu-like illness like gastrointestinal upset, headache, or fatigue?
  3. Had a recent loss of taste or smell?
  4. Been in contact with anyone who have tested positive for COVID19?
  5. Traveled to regions affected by COVID19 in the past 14 days?

 

Save your Heart by Brushing your Teeth

March 12th, 2020

According to a recent study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, toothbrushing multiple times a day can lower one's risk of heart disease.

Let's Dig Deeper

This study involved one hundred sixty thousand participants between the ages of 40-79 years, who were tracked over a ten year span.  These individuals had no history of atrial fibrillation or heart failure at the the beginning of the study.

The study results were independent of factors such as age, gender, socioeconomic status, exercise frequency, alcohol consumption, and other behaviors that could damage the heart.

At the ten year followup evaluation, they there 4,911 participants who had developed atrial fibrillation and 7,971 developed heart failure.

Back to Basics

Anatomy of the Heart:

The heart has 4 chambers.  The two upper chambers are called the atria.  The two lower chambers are called ventricles.  Oxygen-poor blood returns from the body and flows first into the right atrium then into the right ventricle.  From here the blood gets oxygen from lungs. Now oxygen rich blood flows into the left atrium and then into the left ventricle.  Now the blood is pumped out of the heart to the rest of the body. The atria and ventricles contract or "pump" blood in a coordinated way.  Click here to see an animation by the American Heart Association.

What is Atrial fibrillation?

According to the American Heart Association, atrial fibrillation is noted by a quivering heart beat or irregular heart beat.  This can lead to blood clots, stroke or heart failure.  Click here to see an animation of Atrial fibrillation.

What is Heart Failure?

According to the American Heart Association, heart failure occurs when the heart is not pumping as effectively as it could be.  The heart cannot keep up with its workload.  Therefore, the body is not getting enough oxygen that it needs. This condition is a chronic continuous degradation of heart muscle that leads to worsening performance of the heart without medical intervention.  Therefore, one common term that is associated with the ineffective heart, is congestive heart failure. Click here to seen an animation of heart failure.

Toothbrushing Benefits

According to this study, toothbrushing at least three times a day reduces one's risk of atrial fibrillation and heart failure. Researchers from this study believe that the mechanical action of the toothbrush against teeth help lower bacterial levels that are below the gum level before they enter the bloodstream.

Put this Concept into Practice

Brush your teeth after mealtimes.  Parents, do this for your own health and then model this habit to your children.  Children often will follow a parent's lead.  Children who are too young to brush their own teeth should be assisted by a parent or guardian. Often I hear from parents that say that their child doesn't like to have their teeth brushed or won't tolerate it.  When I ask the parent how often they brush their teeth, it is often less than two times a day.  Please note that you are the parent. It is your responsibility to take care of your child.  A child will protest all day long to avoid anything he or she doesn't like.  Toothbrushing is one battle that you have to win, parents.  For a toothbrushing refresher, head to our page on preventive care.

Toothbrushing is an effective way to not only help your teeth, but it can also reduce your risk for some heart diseases like atrial fibrillation and heart failure. Start today!

Dr. Allen Job, DDS, MS, MPH, MS is a board certified pediatric dentist who practices in San Diego, California, where he specializes in prevention. For more than a decade, served as assistant professor for the Department of Pediatric Dentistry at Loma Linda University School of Dentistry (LLUSD). He is currently an instructor at LLUSD.