We all know how hard it can be to get kids excited about veggies instead of French fries, outdoor activities instead of video games, and keeping their pearly whites, well, pearly. Toledo Area Parent asked medical experts in the area to help you help your kids be healthy!
Great Smiles Family Dentistry
We all remember our parents forcing us to brush our teeth before going to bed; after consuming our fair share of candy, chocolate or whatever else was available in the pantry. Dr. Nadeem Khan tells us why kids should want to take care of their pearly whites.
“It’s essential that you visit your dentist at least twice a year because, especially with baby teeth, or primary teeth, it can dictate what will happen in the future with their adult teeth. It’s very important to keep oral hygiene at its optimum: brushing, flossing, fluoride supplements and mouthwash. Cavities can come through many different ways, especially diet. Foods children should stay away from include the obvious things like candy and anything high in sugar. Parents today should be concerned with energy drinks, sugary drinks like Gatorade, and soda. Anything with high acidity, even fruit juices, should be limited. Children should be brushing their teeth after every meal and flossing at least once or twice a day. The benefit of flossing is that it removes the plaque buildup between the teeth, which does two things: prevents cavities from forming and allows gums to remain healthy. Parents can motivate their kids to take care of their mouths by making it exciting and fun for them. There are several different types of electric toothbrushes, some that have famous characters, cartoons or entertainers on them, and those can help. Some toothbrushes have timers on them so kids know how long to brush their teeth.”
4646 Nantuckett Dr., Toledo
FACES Skin Health Experts
The sun is good for a lot of things- mood, enjoying time outdoors and an excellent source of vitamin D. However, too much of a good thing is a bad thing, especially in the case of the sun. Repeated unprotected sun exposure has many health risks. Dr. Marlene Welch tells us why kids should get used to laying on the sunscreen before laying in the sun.
“My children are accustomed to wearing long-sleeve SPF shirts and hats in addition to wearing sunscreen. I recommend sunscreen with at least SPF 30 for children because a lot of what happens to your skin later in life is a result of your sun exposure as a child or teenager. I’ve removed skin cancer from patients as young as 15 years old, and I think it’s related to the popularity of tanning beds. For parents of teens who frequently tan, I think it’s a huge issue. I show teenagers photos of premature facial aging as a result of the unprotected sun exposure to help them understand. Nobody wants wrinkles early, so I hope it resonates with them that way. Also, I never allow my children out in the sun at high noon. Even if they want to be out, I don’t let it happen. After about two o’clock, the effects of the sun are much less severe on their skin.”
6595 Secor Rd, Lambertville, MI
Hires Dental Care
“Moms know best” when it comes to a lot of things. But when it comes to caring for a baby’s mouth, make sure you’re not missing the mark. Dr. Eric Hires fills us in on pacifiers, baby bottles, and putting your baby on the fast track toward a healthy smile.
“Pacifiers might have some effects on tooth and jaw development. The Nuk orthodontic pacifier is currently one of the best on the market. There is a local pediatric dentist, Dr. Steve Branam of Oregon Pediatric Dentistry, who has designed his own pacifier which is another great option. The most important thing is not allowing them to fall asleep with a bottle in their mouths because once they have teeth; they’re going to have rampant decay if they go to bed with a bottle containing anything other than water. The sugar lies on the teeth all night long and causes tooth decay, which leads to lost baby teeth and eventually crooked adult teeth. The tooth decay causes pain, infection and all kinds of dental problems. It’s one of the most common problems with kids not taking care of their teeth. Drinking pop, juice and especially diet pop is bad for teeth and body. Once they have teeth, moms should be brushing them and once there are two teeth next to each other, moms should be flossing their teeth. Because baby teeth are smaller, extra attention needs to be paid because the decay can reach the nerves much faster. I know that making kids brush their teeth is not always fun, but you have to get them used to it; the downsides of not doing it are far worse.”
3951 W. Sylvania Ave.,
Haerian, Ludwig Ortho
A beautiful smile is something every teenager wants. It’s great for their health, self-esteem and confidence. Every child is different and parents should make sure to visit the orthodontist when the time is right, and according to the American Association of Orthodontists, parents should take their children for orthodontic screening as early as age seven. Dr. André Haerian gives us the details.
“There are many important factors related to teeth alignment. Biologically, having teeth positioned properly will reduce risk of cavities, allow for easier cleaning, and ensure proper transition from mixed to permanent dentition. Furthermore, proper positioning of opposing teeth will help the jaw joints and muscles of the jaws work in tandem, reducing risk of damage to these important oral systems. Scientific evidence also indicates that properly aligned teeth reduce problems related to periodontal (gum) disease. Psychologically, there are aspects of appearance and self-perception that are affected by teeth position. Everyone should feel beautiful and confident when he or she smiles. It helps their self-esteem and will allow them to develop in a healthy way. When it comes to the appearance of braces, teenagers have many more options now than they used to. In our office, appointments are shorter and less frequent, not to mention much more comfortable. Orthodontic treatment is taking less time, is more comfortable, and brackets are becoming more aesthetically appealing. We can even place braces behind the teeth where it becomes impossible to tell who is wearing braces.”
6407 Monroe St., Sylvania; 419-318-1756
4359 Keystone Dr., Suite 200, Maumee; 419-887-1247
7928 Secor Rd., Lambertville, MI; 734-206-2094
Mercy Medical Partners
A healthy diet is essential for a child’s overall health. And, unfortunately, when they’re not sitting on your dining room table, it’s hard to make sure they’re eating the right things. Dr. Colleen Olson tells us how to encourage kids to make good choices for themselves.
“I am a part of Mercy’s Pediatric Weight Management Program, which is a referral based program involving kids ages 12 to 18 who have a BMI (body mass index) above the 95 percent and also have suboptimal nutrition practices. Our team works to teach kids as well as parents about healthy lifestyle choices involving nutrition, activity, and behavior. In this pilot program, we have witnessed some wonderful changes in our kids as well as their parents in regards to attitude, weight loss, and all around healthier choices that hopefully build a foundation for lifelong health. Parents need to MODEL good behavior and good decision making which will in turn help their children to accept those same choices as their own. The parents are not allowed to drink soda and eat cookies and expect that their children will eat fruits and vegetables and drink water. Variety is the key. Children should consume fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats as well as two to three servings of low fat dairy for proper bone growth and bone health. They should eat three meals per day, have a fruit or vegetable at each meal and drink non-sugar containing beverages such as low fat milk and water.”
1657 Holland Rd., Maumee;
Fairwood Health and Body Transition
It’s integral that parents set a good example for their kids to help them learn the “dos and don’ts” of a nutritionally-balanced diet. Dr. Jason Peisley tells us the importance of taking strides toward a healthy and happy you.
“Children are going to follow their parent’s lead. So parents have to be educated on proper eating habits. The amount of sugar consumed per year has tripled in the last 50 to 60 years and that has contributed to an increase in Type 2 diabetes and ADHD in children. These things are all preventable, so we have to teach them the importance of cutting back on foods containing sugar and whole wheat. The obesity epidemic in children has developed because parents are misled to believe that they’re feeding their kids the right things. Foods such as bread, pastries, bagels and pretzels create yeast in our bodies which leads to the development and growth of fat cells. Anything that’s in a box, bag or can should not be eaten. Exercise is critical and the bottom line is that parents need to push their kids out of ‘video game mode’ and get them more active. The key to healthy weight loss for life is finding and putting an end to the underlying causes of weight gain without the use of shots or drugs. My holistic approach has been proven highly effective and uses natural supplementation, a diet rich in nutrition and cellulite-busting weight loss tools and behavior modification to trigger fat-burning hormones and stop food cravings.”
5215 Monroe St., Sylvania
ABA Family Chiropractic & Holistic Center
Dr. Andy Wright and Nancy Pickens, RN
Taking care of our bones doesn’t stop with drinking a glass of milk every day. And when it comes to your child’s diet, gluten-free might be the best decision you make. Dr. Andy Wright and Nancy Pickens, RN, MS, give us the inside scoop of how to help your kids grow healthy and strong.
Dr. Wright: “Most chiropractic problems start when you’re young. I remember being five years old when I slipped and hurt my lower back, and my parents took me to a chiropractor for adjustments. Now with children sitting with poor posture at desks all day they are putting abnormal amounts of stress on the spine, causing misalignment which can affect the entire body. Parents need to make sure their kids are moving around enough; lead by example, go for walks, and avoid sitting for long periods of time. And get them adjusted regularly, because a small problem today can turn into a serious one down the road if left uncorrected.”
Nancy Pickens: “My first experience with a gluten-free diet was 25 years ago when my son was diagnosed with celiac disease. The benefits of a gluten-free diet in sensitive children is that it improves their ability to think, focus and also enhances their overall immunity so they don’t get sick as often. We know through research that processed foods lack nutrients or include bad fats that negatively affect developing children. Chronic illnesses such as diabetes, obesity and osteoporosis, have all been linked to unhealthy food choices in early childhood. Parents need to get back to the basics, back to making foods from scratch and taking advantage of what nature has provided us.”
2439 N. Reynolds Rd., Toledo
Harmony Chiropractic Center, Inc.
When your little ones love sports and spend their Friday nights under the lights, parents need to be aware of the physical risks.
Dr. Bryan Royer specializes in sports medicine and tells us how kids can build healthy bones and still do the things they love.
“Kids should be playing in order to make sure that they have healthy bones and sitting in front of the video game doesn’t count. The bones themselves actually react to the stresses of play and force the bones to become stronger. Moreover, play and exercise will lead to a healthier brain. While a high-quality multivitamin is hardly ever a bad idea, diets that are high in vegetables (especially green leafy vegetables) will make sure that they get the calcium they need. And the other thing is sunshine. While this may not be the best time of year to actually get sun exposure, you can get vitamin D in some foods like salmon. For children and teenagers who play physical sports, preventative measures they can take to protect themselves from injury are to have the right equipment that is properly fitted. The thing that is not typically done is assessing the athlete for weaknesses in strength, flexibility or functional movement. Having a kid assessed in the preseason will allow for fixing any identified problems. This in and of itself can prevent injuries during the season due to muscle weakness, muscle imbalance or lack of flexibility, which is a much more common issue for most children and teenagers.”
3829 Woodley Road, Suite 1, Toledo
Toledo Clinic ENT
Sinus Center of Excellence
Dr. Christopher Perry focuses on important topics for your children when it comes to their ears, nose and throat.Children are susceptible to various problems with their ears, nose, and throat and in fact, more than 80 percent of children will experience an ear infection by age three.
“Children should be examined for ear, nose and throat health by a family doctor or pediatrician at least once a year. Every child receives a newborn hearing screening at birth. But if a child exhibits speech delay or if a parent suspects a hearing deficit, then a hearing test can be done at any time. If a child demonstrates a pattern of recurrent ear infections or tonsillitis, which are the most common problems seen in children, then an ENT consultation may be indicated. A set of ear tubes or tonsillectomy may break the cycle of ear infections or sore throat and lead to an improved quality of life for children. Because children are so prone to upper airway infections, a preventative measure parents can take is to encourage children to wash their hands or use a hand sanitizer. Parents should look out for signs and symptoms such as sinus drainage, fever, nasal congestion, sore throat, bad breath and cough which may indicate a sinus infection.”
5800 Park Center Ct., Toledo
As if their friendly, furry faces are not enough, pets at home can have profound benefits for children. Caring for a pet teaches kids responsibility and compassion. Dr. Robert Esplin explains why cuddly companions are important members of the family.
“Among the many benefits, studies have shown that children who have pets in their homes are often more responsible, better behaved and score higher on standardized testing. Those are all legitimate reasons to have a pet in your child’s life. Pets become a stabilizing, non-judgmental factor in that child’s life when they go through various phases that aren’t always happy; there can be teasing, friendships that go wrong or moving to a different city and that’s all out of their control. By the parents involving their children in training their pets, even if they’re a toddler, the dog will listen when it’s told to ‘sit’ by a child. Controlling the interaction between the animals and kids helps them understand not to rough-house or hit them, and that can carry into real-life situations as well. Also, knowing the normal pattern and functions of their pets is important because we can’t ask the pets directly if they’re not feeling well, the owners have to be good observers, and parents should teach that to their children.”
4801 N. Holland-Sylvania Rd., Sylvania
Toledo Vision Therapy
For parents with children squinting to see the school chalkboard, it’s time to break the news that glasses are their friend, not their foe.
Dr. Donna Baldwin-Mickey talks about the importance of looking through the lenses.
“Children’s vision is so important for reading and learning that parents need to make sure that their kids have adequate lighting and that they’re using hand-held electronic devices at an appropriate distance. A good rule of thumb is that their arms should always form an “L” shape from the side and not a “V” when holding their phone. Symptoms like headaches or blur are indicators that they may be putting unnecessary stress on their eyes. Another tip is that with all of the 3D movies out, parents should observe how their children are watching the movie. Are they looking over the glasses or not reacting to things the way they should? It may be a sign that there may be a binocular vision problem. Sometimes children break down because they don’t want to wear glasses and it’s often about making them feel comfortable. Parents can do so by pointing out others around them that are wearing glasses so they don’t feel like they’re standing out. Contacts are also becoming an option for children at an earlier age. Children should have their eyes examined by two years of age and again before starting school and then once a year subsequently. Their eyes are constantly changing and, often times, significant developments happen when they’re experiencing a growth spurt.”
2600 N. Reynolds Rd., Toledo
Great Start Pediatrics at Starbright
Dr. Jennifer Fallon-DeLucia helps us understand the “rules of thumb” when it comes to children surviving the winter, allergies and asthma. Fewer sniffles and sneezes are right around the corner with her helpful tips.
“Drinking lots of water, eating healthy and washing hands often will help get your children through the winter. For a healthy pantry, parents should shop the edges of the grocery store where they’ll find fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats and dairy products. Multivitamins are really important because we don’t get enough nutrients from food alone. Another winter tip is to make sure kids wear helmets in any instance that involves speed, like skiing and sledding.
Allergies in children are commonly environmental, which includes pollen and dust mites, and allergy covers on pillows and mattresses can help with that. When we think of allergies, we associate runny nose and watery eyes, but that’s not always the case. With food allergies, it can mean constipation or diarrhea. Gluten-free diets are a great alternative to children who have certain food allergies and are developing issues due to processed food, which is one of our biggest enemies.
Asthma, or reactive airway disease in children, shouldn’t prevent them from keeping up with their peers. Signs that indicate asthma include wheezing, barking cough or constant throat clearing and if parents are noticing these, then they need to look into it. For children that are diagnosed, the number one thing is to treat the lung inflammation with an inhaled corticosteroid so there is no lasting lung damage.”
28555 Starbright Blvd., Perrysburg;
Dr. Jeffrey Bunkers, DDS, MS, Inc.
Most children are not born with a perfect set of teeth and it’s becoming increasingly normal for children to experience wearing braces. Let your kids hear what Dr. Jeffrey Bunkers has to say about retainers, headgear and a mouth full of metal.
“Sugar and high fructose corn syrup is especially toxic to teeth as well as the body. It can be as addictive as substances like heroin or cocaine. So, candy, toffee, caramel and any sticky foods are off limits with braces. Xylitol gum is sugar-free and helps prevent cavities, so it can be chewed while kids have braces on. For pain due to tightening and adjustments, Ibuprofen is best taken two hours before and after an orthodontic appointment. After the average two years spent wearing braces, patients need to wear retainers to prevent teeth from moving after orthodontic care. In my office, we offer fixed retainers because it is the best option for patients who want to avoid the nightly task of putting them in. You’ll be able to floss and keep teeth clean with fixed retainers, without worries of dental problems. They are comfortable and patients can’t feel them. Who wants to wear a removable retainer nightly when you can have a fixed piece that eliminates the opportunity of losing it? We promise to treat patients in the timeliest manner possible, and with the latest technology. That means headgear and dinosaurs are both extinct in my office. You won’t find either when you visit me.”
880 Commerce Dr., Perrysburg
3448 Navarre Ave, Suite 200, Oregon
1221 Ridgewood Dr., Bowling Green
Associates in Women’s Health
Whether it’s the first time or the fourth, expecting mothers have to be careful as they go about their daily routines while carrying precious cargo. Dr. David Jackson emphasizes the importance of activity for pregnant women and how babies can enjoy lullabies before they’re even born.
“Babies can ‘hear’ in the womb. We can see changes in heart rate, based on sounds. If a door slams while a woman is being monitored, we can see an increase in baby’s heart rate. So it makes sense that soothing sounds like reading or singing would be calming to the baby as well. During pregnancy, exercising has many benefits. Overall, when moms are healthy, babies tend to be healthy too. Being in shape tends to make delivery less strenuous and moms usually recover more quickly. Babies do better when delivery is not prolonged and there is a lesser chance of C-section. For pregnant women, the best exercise we recommend is walking. It is free, easy to do, and can be adjusted for anyone’s ability and fitness level. Another good choice when it’s available is gentle swimming. Moms who are regular runners can continue to run as long as they can, but need to be careful of falling. When it comes to diet, one type of food that women need to increase in pregnancy is protein. It can be any healthy protein, but most women tend to eat too many carbohydrates and not enough protein.”
7135 Sylvania Ave., Sylvania
Harbor Behavioral Healthcare
Stress is inevitable. How we handle stress is up to us and Doreen Pant, team leader for Medicaid Health Home program and a clinical supervisor, tells us how we can try to keep harmony in the home.
“It’s very difficult for children to focus on their daily routines and make good decisions when they are concerned about their family structure and feel stress. It’s important for parents to do their best to create a stress-free environment for children because parents are their role models. When parents show an ability to manage stress, it’s powerful for children. When they employ effective coping strategies like counting to ten, deep breathing or walking away when angry, they’re giving good guidelines for their kids. Trying to keep things calm, free of distractions and clutter-free helps keep harmony in the home. If things are unorganized and out of place, the physical environment can be a trigger for children to feel like life is out of order. Kids manage stress best when they feel heard and understood. They need to be able to express themselves, so we work with them on sharing their emotions, whether it’ s through verbal communication, art or journaling. We have a variety of programs to accomplish this. Our newest program, Medicaid Health Home, focuses on person centered integrated care that allows families to get the comprehensive treatment they need.”
5151 Monroe St., Toledo
Great Expressions Dental Centers
Teething can be excruciating for both parents and babies. Dr. Surpreet Kaur talks about a healthy eruption sequence for a baby’s mouth and gives helpful tips on how to avoid sleepless nights with your teething tot.
“A healthy eruption sequence for children usually entails getting front lower and upper teeth first. This can happen anywhere from six to eight months. Permanent molars begin growing around the ages of five and eight which is also when baby teeth begin to fall out. By twelve or thirteen, children almost have all their adult teeth except wisdom teeth. There are a few things that parents can do to reduce discomfort for their teething children. The first involves cold compressions. In the same way that ice works to decrease swelling or pain, cold compresses soothe the gums. A great way to make a homemade cold compress is to refrigerate your child’s pacifier. If your child does not like the cold objects, you may allow them to just chew on their pacifier or you may rub their gums with a clean finger to apply pressure to their gums. To ensure your children develop healthy teeth, stick with crunchy fruits and vegetables with high water content that will help dilute sugar and wash away food particles. Great examples are apples, celery and cucumbers. To neutralize the acid in your mouth that can cause tooth decay, snack on foods such as pears, apples, yogurt and other dairy products.”
5950 Airport Hwy., Suite 10, Toledo
1555 South Byrne Road, Suite 107; Toledo 419-385-9208