Staying on top of children’s health can seem daunting at times. Parents want to be sure they are ensuring a healthy future. At what age should a child have their first dental visit? How early should they be evaluated by an orthodontist? Is visual screening at the pediatrician’s office sufficient to diagnose vision issues? Toledo Area Parent consulted top local medical experts to find out these answers and more! Read on as they share their golden rules for staying healthy and happy.
Dr. Marlene Welch
Board Certified Plastic Surgeon
FACES Skin Health Experts
6595 Secor Rd. Ste 3 Lambertville, MI 48144
734.568.6100 | www.skinbyfaces.com
As our body’s largest organ, the skin performs many important roles in keeping us healthy. It protects us from the sun, enables our sense of touch, and keeps our temperature regulated. Acting as a barrier, it prevents pathogens from entering our body, and eliminates toxins via sweat. Dr. Welch tells us how to protect our skin and keep it healthy.
“Ideally, parents would instill healthy skin habits in their children in the same manner they instill dental hygiene habits. Taking care of your skin from an early age helps prevent future problems, ranging in severity from wrinkles and discoloration to skin cancer.
Children and adolescents can easily be taught the skin health principles of cleansing and protecting. Of course keeping hands clean is especially important to reduce the spreading of germs, and I recommend using a mild, gentle cleanser on the face. Follow this with the one product everyone needs: sunscreen. Contrary to popular belief, sunscreen needs to be worn all year round. Get them in the habit of applying sunscreen in the morning and reapplying throughout the day. I like to use a mineral powder sunscreen brush to touch up throughout the day. I can quickly and easily brush it over my children’s faces, and then apply some to myself. Bonus for moms: it doesn’t mess up your makeup!
For further skin protection, I recommend using a lip balm with SPF and a hand cream with sun protection factor. Those harmful rays hit us while we’re in the car or shuffling our kids from school to practice. I’m also a firm believer in regular exercise, good nutrition and plenty of water for good skin, and good health in general.”
Jennifer L. Zoll, DDS
Dr. Erin Knierim
3036 W. Sylvania Ave.
Toledo, OH 43613
It’s no secret that candy is bad for kids’ teeth, but the American Dental Association cautions that almost all foods contain some type of decay-causing sugar. Dr. Knierim shares her tips for cultivating excellent dental health at an early age- a healthy diet paired with a daily cleaning routine.
“A healthy diet is so important to keeping your teeth healthy. Choose snacks like fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts and cheese. Limit candy and sugary treats to special occasions and rinse or drink water afterwards. You should avoid sticky foods such as fruit roll ups and other gummies. Choose the real thing even if canned or frozen, but be sure it’s “no sugar added.” Limit juice to 4-6 ounces per day, if you choose to serve it at all, and keep it with meals, using only 100 percent juice. Choose water to drink in between meals. Avoid pop, sports drinks and energy drinks, even those that are diet contain acid which is harmful to your teeth. Parents should begin dental hygiene as soon as the first tooth erupts and brush for their children at least until age 8, floss daily as soon as the teeth next to each other begin to touch. Brush with toothpaste that contains fluoride. Use a pea size amount of toothpaste for kids that can expectorate (usually starting around 3) and for kids who are younger use a smear that’s the size of a grain of rice.”
Dr. Andre Haerian
Drs. Simon, Haerian & Ludwig
6407 Monroe St.
Sylvania, OH 43560
419.882.1017 | www.perfectbraces.com
Early intervention when the teeth and jaw are still developing is becoming commonplace in orthodontic care. Addressing issues when your child’s first adult teeth come in can make problems much easier to correct and even avoid. Dr. Haerian keys us in on some early risk factors to look for.
“Most people think orthodontics is a subject that doesn’t need to be addressed until around age 12, when all primary teeth have fallen out. In reality, a short visit to an orthodontist at an early age can have a long term impact on ideal jaw and teeth development. Behaviors such as thumb/finger sucking or tongue thrusting can affect the position of the teeth or the palate.
Studies have also shown that dropping the jaw down and forward while sleeping to aid in breathing can negatively influence the growth of the lower jaw and might indicate a compromised airway. Tackling these issues while the jaw is still undergoing development can lessen or possibly even negate the need for full orthodontic treatment in the future. The American Association of Orthodontics recommends age 7 as a good time for a checkup because a small change in behavior early on can result in a big improvement in the long run.”
Dr. Donna Baldwin-Mickey
Toledo Vision Therapy
2600 N. Reynolds Rd.
Toledo, OH 43615
419.578.4322 | www.toledovisiontherapy.com
The American Optometric Association recommends that children have their first comprehensive eye and vision assessment before age 3, and warns that the vision test at the pediatrician’s office fails to identify up to 60 percent of children with vision problems. Dr. Baldwin-Mickey stresses the importance of developmental and perceptual testing by an optometrist.
“The most important thing for parents to know is that a vision test at the pediatrician’s office is not a comprehensive eye exam! This is a visual acuity screening, designed to identify myopic (near-sighted) kids or kids with a significant difference between the two eyes. It does not identify children who are hyperopic (far-sighted). That test gives parents a false sense of security that their children’s vision is okay. It does not check ocular health or any of the binocular skills necessary for reading and learning. Also in this techno age, young children are using handheld devices like cell phones and tablets more frequently. It is important for everyone to remember the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes on a computer, tablet or cell phone, look at an object 20 feet away (or out a window) for 20 seconds. This will help prevent eyestrain, fatigue and possibly near-sightedness due to constant accommodation. If a child is struggling in school, it may be a vision problem even if they test 20/20. It is possible that deficits in binocular skills like tracking and convergence may be causing problems. Visual perceptual deficits like poor visual memory or visual figure-ground can be the problem. Toledo Vision Therapy offers developmental eye exams as well as visual perceptual testing.”
Dr. Jeffrey A. Bunkers
J Bunkers Orthodontics
880 Commerce Dr. Perrysburg, OH 43551
3448 Navarre Ave., Suite 200 Oregon, OH 43616
1221 Ridgewood Dr. Bowling Green, 43402
According to the American Association of Orthodontics, almost half of today’s orthodontic care is provided to adults. The reason is not purely cosmetic; improperly aligned teeth can lead to gum disease and gastrointestinal issues. Dr. Bunkers tells parents why it’s not too late for orthodontic treatment.
“Think braces are just for kids? Think again. Adults get braces too. More than one million U.S. adults are having orthodontic treatment. Most are able to achieve excellent results; I’ve treated adults ages 70 and older who wanted to improve their smiles. It’s never too late and it’s not all about looks. If your children have perfectly straight teeth, you may think they’ll skate through childhood without braces. But sometimes orthodontics is necessary even for people with seemingly perfect smiles. Orthodontics is not just about aesthetics. If teeth don’t fit together correctly, that can affect the long-term health of your bone and gums. Follow through when your orthodontist gives you instructions on how to care for your teeth; it’s important to follow them exactly. We know right away if you’re not brushing like you should, and we can certainly tell if you are drinking sugary drinks.”
Dr. Jennifer Harrington
Children’s Safe Harbor
location in the Jobst Tower at Toledo Hospital
2109 Hughes Dr. #640 Toledo, OH 43606
419-291-8892 | www.harbor.org/childrens-safe-harbor.html
Mental health and physical health are both equally essential and intertwined. When we treat an individual, the outcome is better when we address the needs of both the mind and body. People cannot be separated into their various parts and pieces. They are a complete package of wonderfully unique faults and strengths. People should always be cared for with that in mind.
Dr. David W. Jackson
Obstetrics & Gynecology
Associates in Women’s Health
5300 Harroun Rd. Ste. 201 Sylvania, OH 43560
For parents, it often seems there aren’t enough hours in the day to take care of your children’s needs, let alone your own. However, it’s crucial to find time to take care of your own health and well-being. Dr. Jackson shares his golden rules for staying healthy, whether you are a parent, or are planning to become one down the road.
“Stick to a healthy diet- balance is the most important thing. If you choose not to eat meat, be sure you get enough protein in other forms. If possible, limit processed foods and use more natural ingredients. Every new diet that comes along is not necessarily the best thing. Exercise is good for the body and mind. Almost any activity is better than no activity. Be sure to get enough sleep. It’s hard when there are young children in the house, but both you and they will be better for it. Make safe choices during reproductive years. Some bad decisions have long-term consequences. Preventative measures are very important at ANY age; get health screenings as recommended by your doctor including pap smears, mammograms, colonoscopy and other screenings. Don’t wait until a problem develops; talk to your doctor sooner rather than later, and find a doctor with whom you can communicate. Don’t neglect your spiritual well being! Reduce stress, reflect, and take time (even five minutes a day) for yourself.”
Dr. Eric J. Hires
Hires Dental Care
3951 W. Sylvania Ave. Toledo, OH 43623
419.475.6673 | www.familydentistrytoledo.com
Tooth decay is the leading chronic childhood illness. Left untreated it can lead to numerous health consequences for your child. Dr. Hires stresses that providing a healthy diet low in sugar and establishing a solid dental routine are critical in prevention.
“Children’s proper oral health always begins with having parents establish a solid routine. Brush for two minutes, twice a day, but make it fun. Play your child’s favorite song while they brush. Once their teeth start to fit together, help them floss. Using a floss holder will make it easier.
It’s also important to schedule a dental visit by your child’s first birthday. At Hires Dental Care, we perform free ‘Happy Visits’ to introduce children to the staff and office. We want them to feel comfortable while getting used to visiting us every six months. When bottle-feeding, it’s imperative that you don’t send children to bed drinking anything other than water. In older children, limit sugary drinks, including juice, as well as sour and sticky candy. Even at the earliest stages of life, tooth decay can have serious implications for a child’s long-term health.”
Dr. Jon Frankel
Dr. Jon Frankel DDS General & Cosmetic Dentistry
5012 Talmadge Rd. Toledo, OH 43623
419.474.9611 | www.jonfrankeldentistry.com
Our children’s overall health is directly related to the health of their teeth and gums. Studies show that poor oral health is a risk factor for heart disease. Encouraging a positive relationship with your child’s dentist from a young age is imperative to success. We know that brushing is important, but it’s not always easy to get our kids excited about it. Dr. Frankel gives his advice for making it fun.
“One of the greatest gifts a parent can give their child is dental health. Children who look forward to dental visits are likely to enjoy a lifetime of dental health. A healthy mouth promotes a healthy body. Regularly scheduled dental visits at least twice a year keep your child motivated to brush and floss. A great dental visit can be a life changer for kids. Learning the basics of dental home care and taking care of small issues before they become big problems is a surefire combo for years of dental health. Familiarize your child about the dentist with DVDs and books. Don’t let your past become your child’s future. Keep comments about dental visits positive. If a family member or friend shares a story about an unpleasant experience, let your child know that is unusual, and that you look forward to the dentist. Tell them how nice your dentist and hygienist are and how great cleaned teeth feel. Make dental home care fun. Give your child an electric toothbrush they like. Play their favorite song for a full two minutes while they brush. At least once a day make sure you brush their teeth. You and your dentist together can give your child the gift of a life-time: a healthy, beautiful smile.”