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Tag: pediatrician phoenix


Let’s Talk About Teeth

When it comes to pediatrics in Phoenix, dental health and hygiene are one of the most important areas to focus on in regards to the health of children. Receiving the proper care and developing dental hygiene habits are essential from a young age. The following are a few facts and tips to help keep you and your kids smiling:

  • There are 20 primary teeth that erupt between the ages of 6 months and 3 years of age. The first tooth to appear is one of the bottom center teeth, typically around 6 months old. These primary teeth are not permanent, and children usually begin losing these teeth around the age of 4 or 5 years. If your child has not received their first primary tooth by the age of 18 months, consult with a Pediatrix pediatrician in Phoenix.
  • There are 32 permanent teeth that erupt between the ages of 6 and 21 years old. The first of these teeth to grow in are the center teeth, on the top or bottom, between about 6 to 8 years of age. The last to erupt will be the secondary molars, more commonly known as wisdom teeth. Speak with your pediatrician in Phoenix to learn more about the effects that wisdom teeth may have on your child’s mouth.
  • Set up a schedule to ensure that your children are brushing their teeth twice a day and flossing once a day. If your child is too young to brush their own teeth, use a clean, wet washcloth or soft child sized toothbrush with water only to clean the teeth. Children aged 2 to 6 should attempt to brush their own teeth using a pea sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Make sure they understand that the toothpaste must be spit out and not swallowed. Most children are able to brush their own teeth with no assistance around the age of 6. Flossing may take additional time, and is more likely achieved around the age of 10 years old.
  • Schedule an appointment to see your dentist at least twice a year for a dental exam and cleaning. Our Pediatrix pediatricians in Phoenix recommend scheduling your first dental visit after your child has reached 12 months of age.
  • If your child has trauma in the mouth or has had a tooth knocked out, the tooth should be held in their inner cheek area with pressure from the tongue. If this is not possible, place the tooth in milk or a saline based solution. After any traumatic incidents, seek immediate medical evaluation from a dentist or pediatrician in Phoenix.
  • If your child participates in sports, Phoenix pediatricians would encourage them to wear a mouth guard. This piece of gear significantly minimizes mouth related injuries during sporting events.

Teaching your child the basics of dental hygiene will give them the tools to achieve good dental health for the rest of their life. Establishing daily dental routines and visiting with a dentist and pediatrician in Phoenix will help your child to maintain a healthy, happy smile. Please feel free to discuss any questions or concerns with a physician at Pediatrix, your state-of-the-art pediatric clinic in Phoenix. Call Pediatrix at (602) 866-0550 or contact our Phoenix pediatricians online. Our pediatric clinic in Phoenix is dedicated to the health and happiness of your children, and is always more than willing to address any questions that you may have. We look forward to your visit!

Sincerely,

Michael Magalnick, DO, FAAP

Posted in Blog on February 15th, 2013

Trick-or-Treat Safety Tips

It’s a child’s favorite holiday: Halloween! In addition to the parties, pumpkin carving and spooky movies, children love getting dressed up in costumes to go trick-or-treating in the neighborhood with friends. While the holiday is a joyous occasion, there are a few things that can make the night a little less than pleasant. In order to make it a fun and safe experience for everyone, our pediatric clinic in Phoenix recommends these trick-or-treating safety tips:

1. Plan a Route

When trick-or-treating, playing it by ear and maneuvering throughout a neighborhood can take you far away from home and even cause you to become lost.  Plan out a route in advance that you are familiar with and make sure it is a suitable walking distance for your child.

2. Wear Comfortable Shoes

Children should wear comfortable shoes that fit well, such as tennis shoes.  Make sure the laces are double knotted to avoid dealing with the hazard of untied shoelaces.

3. Be Visible

You are going to be wandering around in the dark, so make sure you carry a flashlight to light a pathway for you and your child. This will help you to avoid incidences, such as tripping over an unseen raised sidewalk, and will make you visible to other trick-or-treaters and drivers.

4. Wear Fitted Costumes

Make sure that costumes fit well to avoid frustration with clothing that is too tight or constantly slipping and falling down. Also make sure to hem any costumes that are dragging on the ground as these can cause tripping.

5. Avoid Accessories

Props with sharp points, such as wands or swords, should be avoided as they can injure your child or another child.

6. Candy Check

After you return to your house from trick-or-treating, dump out your child’s candy on a table or counter and throw out anything that is unwrapped or not in its original wrapper.

Following the above tips will ensure that you and your child stay safe while trick-or-treating this Halloween. At Pediatrix, an established pediatric office in Phoenix, we promote healthy habits for every child in our care. With a huge variety of candy freely available after trick-or-treating, your child’s eyes may be larger than their stomach. To avoid a sugar rush, our pediatric office in Phoenix recommends limiting your child to a couple pieces of candy per day. If you would like to put your child on the track to a healthy future, call a representative at our pediatric office in Phoenix at (602) 866-0550 or contact us online today to speak with a qualified representative. We wish you a safe and spooktacular Halloween!

 

Sincerely,

 

Subir K. Mitra, MD, FAAP

Posted in Blog on October 25th, 2012

The Case for Eating Healthy

This is Part 1 in a 3-part series of eating healthy to prevent obesity and related health problems.

As a society, we are constantly trying to improve our health and the health of our children by making and encouraging healthier food choices and exercising to maintain or lose weight. Despite our best intentions, the rates of childhood and adult obesity have skyrocketed over the last 20 years.  To put this into perspective, Arizona’s obesity rates have gone from 10-14% in 1992 to well over 25% in 2012.  That is astounding.  We all hear about eating right and the importance of exercising; in fact, I have this conversation with my patients several times each day.   Unfortunately, no matter how much information I give, patients’ success rates for weight reduction are very low.  I have heard all the excuses:  “We try to eat healthy, but it’s too expensive”, “I exercise a lot without any results”, “We don’t have time to cook our own meals”, “We’ve tried a high protein diet or a low fat diet and to limit calories”. None of these excuses works to help patients permanently lose weight and the excuses only perpetuate the obesity problem.

 

While it may surprise you, I do not think portion size, lack of exercise, fast food and soda are the only culprits to blame in the obesity epidemic.  This summer I researched this topic further and have discovered that as our consumption of meat and dairy products has risen, so has our nation’s obesity level.  While some studies may be tedious for parents to read, there are a variety of easy to view documentaries on the subject.  My favorite is the documentary Forks Over Knives.  This is a game changer.  The researchers in this movie advocate a whole food, plant based diet—that is, a vegan diet.  I must admit, the very word “vegan” scared me.  With a vegan diet, individuals do not consume any animal products, which means no meat, fish, eggs or dairy.  What?  Give up meat, milk and my most beloved cheese?  How could I do that, much less ask my patients to do it?  After looking further into the issue and trying the vegan diet for myself, I have to say it makes a lot of sense.  All of the cholesterol and bad fats we consume are from animal products and processed foods.  Meat, including poultry, contains cholesterol.  When we eat meat, we also eat this cholesterol, which becomes a part of our bloodstream.  You may hope to avoid this by switching to fish, but this leads to other concerns, as many types of fish contain dangerously high levels of mercury.  Moreover, research is showing that meat and dairy products contain antibiotics and growth hormones, which are directly absorbed by those who consume these foods: us and our children.

 

But what about protein?  Don’t we, and our children, need protein?   We hear a lot about the need for protein from meat and dairy products.  While we do need this nutrient, the truth is that we don’t need nearly as much protein as we as a society presently consume.  Our consumption of meat per capita has increased dramatically in just the past 20-25 years.  Yet, our high protein meat based diets have not succeeded in improving obesity rates.  Substituting plant-based proteins for meat can still give us the nutrition our bodies need, with less health risk.  For instance, cultures with low consumption of meat and high consumption of plant-based foods typically have very low obesity rates.  Even if you do not want to become completely vegan, moving to a vegan diet 2 days, 3 days or even 6 days a week can help achieve weight loss and overall health.   Remember that this dietary change is a lifestyle change.   A plant-based diet can lower your cholesterol, blood pressure and risk for type II diabetes.  As a pediatrician, I am starting to see children with these issues.  The last thing I would ever want to do is put any of my patients on anti-hypertensive drugs and cholesterol reducing medications or have to treat them for type II diabetes.  Instead of prescribing medications for conditions related to unhealthy eating, I would rather prescribe healthy eating to prevent illness and obesity.

 

Part 2 of this series will discuss what to eat and the surprisingly low cost of eating healthy.

 

If you have a child with weight problems or would like to learn more about healthy eating, schedule an obesity or nutrition consultation with me at pediatrixmd.com or call for an appointment.

 

Sincerely,

 

Subir K. Mitra, MD, FAAP

Posted in Blog on August 31st, 2012

Learning About Sunscreen

Pediatrix understands that outdoor play and a healthy amount of Vitamin D are important for growing kids, but prolonged exposure to the Ultraviolet rays from the sun can become problematic to people of all ages.  Ultraviolet rays are dangerous because they can trigger a chemical reaction within your body’s cells and may cause:

  • Premature aging of the skin
  • Development of skin cancer
  • Development of cataracts

As winter draws to a close, the dangers of the sun and ultraviolet rays become more prominent.  Rising temperatures and longer days attribute to increased sunlight exposure, while the risks to your child increases as well.  No one understands these dangers more than Pediatrix.  You can never be too careful when it comes to the proper skin care in the harsh Arizona climate.

The use of sunscreen is important, but what is just as necessary is a clear understanding of the types of sunscreen and how to properly apply it to your child – of which Pediatrix is here to help.

There are two primary types of sunscreen: physical sunscreen and chemical sunscreen.  Physical sunscreen is the more traditional type of sunscreen; it is the type that you squeeze out of the bottle and lather on to the skin, paying close attention to those hard to reach areas.  Physical sunscreen creates a protective layer for your skin, blocking most of the ultraviolet rays from the sun so that the skin cannot absorb them or their harmful properties.

Chemical sunscreen contains organic chemicals and is often squeezed on to the skin just like physical sunscreen.  The key difference between chemical and physical sunscreen is that where physical sunscreen blocks the ultraviolet light from penetrating your skin, the chemical sunscreen absorbs most of the ultraviolet rays, allowing a small fraction to actually reach your skin.

When applying sunscreen to your child, it is important to cover all exposed areas of the skin.  It is also important to use the recommended amount of sunscreen; many people use as little as half the recommended amount of sunscreen by the bottle, so be sure to read the directions clearly!

If you are concerned about your child’s exposure to the sun or have noticed the development of worrisome marks on the skin, please contact your pediatrician at Pediatrix.  Make an appointment to discuss proper sun exposure and the recommended sun protection for your child.

 

Sincerely,

 

Subir K. Mitra, MD, FAAP

Posted in Blog on March 28th, 2012

Junk Food Marketing: How is it influencing your kids?

You may have heard marketers use the phrase ‘Get them while they are young’ when trying to attract new customers. But how young is too young?  Last year the fast food industry alone spent over $300 million to target children and teens as young as two.  The total amount spent marketing junk food products to adolescent and teen-age children?  $2 billion.

Companies selling junk food products are speaking to your children early and often, through a variety of media channels. Their messages are aggressive and relentless, aimed at influencing the dietary choices of society’s youngest consumers. Sugar sweetened drinks and fast food are the unhealthiest products marketed to children. These aggressive marketing strategies are an enormous contributing factor to the skyrocketing rates of diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity among children.

Recent studies have shown that preschool-aged children who have been regularly fed foods high in sugar, salt, and fat, learn to recognize junk food brands and prefer these foods to healthier options. These preferences are often unchanged into adulthood. Preferring junk food to healthy meal choices has long-term health implications, as junk food lacks vitamins and nutrients critical for growth and development. Some studies have even shown a measurable drop in IQ points in children who ate predominately processed foods.

When parents allow marketers to effect how they feed their children, the results can be deadly. Obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and even stroke—all diseases that once only affected middle-aged adults—are now impacting children. Young people must consume less calorie rich, sugar sweetened, and nutrient poor, junk food. Parents must monitor the amounts of junk food their children are consuming, and teach children healthy eating habits from a young age.

Junk food companies did get one thing right: if you ‘get them while they are young’ you will have a long-term impact on a child’s tastes and preferences. As a parent it is your responsibility to instill healthy habits while your children are young. Providing nourishing, truly healthy food will have both an immediate and lifelong impact on your child’s health.

To learn more about the dangers of a junk food rich diet contact Pediatrix, your Phoenix pediatricians. Make an appointment to discuss healthy eating habits and complete balanced nutrition for your child with a Phoenix pediatrician.

 

Sincerely,

 

Subir K. Mitra, MD, FAAP

Posted in Blog on January 24th, 2012