Protect Your Kids This Summer

Dr. Avani Gandhi // Pine Pediatric Dentistry // Chino Hills, CA

Summer fun has begun in San Bernardino and it seems like the list of things we try to put on our children to protect them keeps growing and growing. We thought it would be helpful to compile information from reliable sources (linked in each section) on what you need to cover your kids, literally and figuratively. 

Bug Spray: The American Academy of Pediatrics says that children as young as two months can use bug spray containing deet. Important fact: a higher percentage of deet does not mean that the product is stronger, just that it will last longer. Although deet is safe for use on children, many parents prefer to use bug repellents that are deet-free. Natural repellents are made with plant oils such as citronella, lemongrass, peppermint, and cedarwood. They generally need to be reapplied more often than products containing deet. Be sure to only apply bug repellent on exposed skin, and rinse off when you come inside. Bug sprays with deet do not expire. 

Sunscreen: Be sure last year’s sunscreen bottles expiration dates have been checked. Use broad spectrum sunscreen to protect against all damaging rays. Set a good example by protecting yourself against the sun, as well as your children. Apply sunscreen 15-30 minutes before going outdoors and reapply often, especially if playing in the water or sweating. Babies under six months should stay in the shade. Apply sunscreen if absolutely necessary, but try to keep them out of the sun. 

Sunglasses: Optometrists say that wearing sunglasses can be even more important for children than adults. Protect your little one’s eyes by choosing sunglasses that block 99 to 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays. Make sure that the glasses meet the American National Standards Institute’s requirements or block UV absorption up to 400 nanometers. When you’ve found a selection of sunglasses that meet these requirements, let your children pick out a pair that they like. et your children pick out the design of sunglasses that they like. They will be more likely to wear them if they like them and feel a part of the decision. 

Goggles: Goggles are especially important, especially in public pools. The ideal pH range is narrow, and difficult to maintain. Too little chlorine, and pools become unsanitary. Too much, and skin and eyes can become irritated. Most public pools will err on the side of too much to avoid unsanitary conditions. Rinsing off right after swimming is also a great idea to avoid irritation. 

Hats: Hats provide an added layer of defense against sun rays and protecting skin on the face, neck, and head from sun damage. Many schools have no hats in the classroom policies, but allow them on the playground. Encouraging your children to wear them during recess is a great way to get them in the habit of wearing one any time they’re outside. 

Water Bottles: Protect against dehydration by always having water handy, and encouraging your children to take water breaks often. Thirst only kicks in when dehydration is already occurring, so make sure those water bottles are being used and refilled throughout the day. Fruit and vegetables with high water content like grapes, watermelon, cucumber, and celery are also delicious ways to stay hydrated. Connect with us on social media.

Brush, Floss, Visit: Last, but certainly not least, is teeth! Don’t forget to protect those bright smiles with twice yearly visits to our office. Brush for two minutes, twice a day, with a fluoride toothpaste, and floss to clean the areas between teeth. The year is half over (!!!) so if your children haven’t had an appointment in 2019, it’s time to call us at (909) 393-4800 to make an appointment with the best kid dentist in San Bernardino County. 

What's For Dinner? // Chino Hills Pediatric Dentist

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Let’s Talk About Nutrition

Dr. Avani Gandhi

Pine Pediatric Dentistry

Chino Hills, CA

Happy smiles start with good nutrition. Even from inside of the womb, children benefit from diets rich in vitamins and minerals. I’m sure we’d all love to have family meals that include appreciative smiles and an abundance of produce, but the reality can be quite different. Even for dentists. Below are tips and advice from some very smart nutritionists on encouraging healthy eating habits for your family.

We’ve also included a dinner chart for you to download. One of the recurring themes we noticed when writing this post is the need for children to be involved in their food choices. We thought it would be fun to create this chart so that everyone has an equal choice in family dinners. We’re not saying everyone gets a personalized meal (but hey, we’ve been there too) but everyone can have a say for a component of each meal. We included week-days only and divided food groups into Fruit, Vegetables, Protein, and Carbohydrate, which makes 20 squares.  Divide 20 by the number of people in your family, and have everyone write favorites in each category on a post it. Then, assemble and plan your week of well rounded meals! Try it out and let us know how it goes.

‘We do recommend bringing kids to the grocery store every so often - even once every few months - to help familiarize them with the food they will eat. Grocery shopping is an important life skill, and sometimes involving kids in the process makes them more likely to try new foods. Plus, identifying foods at the store helps children learn colors, new words, practice sorting or categorization, and learn about manners and social cues while in public. (Eventually they'll help you with grocery shopping and putting food away - now that's something to look forward to!)’ - Feeding Littles

‘Bite your tongue. As hard as this may be, try not to comment on what or how much your kids are eating. Be as neutral as possible. Remember, you've done your job as a parent by serving balanced meals; your kids are responsible for eating them. If you play food enforcer—saying things like "Eat your vegetables"—your child will only resist.’ - Parenting Magazine

‘Don't label foods as "good" or "bad." Instead, tie foods to the things your child cares about, such as sports or doing well in school. Let your child know that lean protein such as turkey and calcium in dairy products give them strength for sports. The antioxidants in fruits and vegetables add luster to skin and hair. And eating a healthy breakfast can help them keep focus in class. - Jennifer Warner

‘Let them make their own plates. Letting your children take control of their own plate is another way to let them exercise their independence and get them interested in trying new foods. It may take a few tries, but most kids will be more willing to add healthy foods to their plates, if they have the autonomy to choose. Meals should generally include protein, a complex carbohydrate, vegetables, fruit and milk or another calcium-rich food, says Lisa Hugh, registered dietitian at Single Ingredient Groceries. By giving your child options within those categories, they’ll get to exercise choice while still getting nutritional components they need.’

Your Child's First Dental Visit // Chino Hills Pediatric Dentist

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One of the questions I’m frequently asked is, “When do I need to take my child to the dentist for their first visit?”

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentists (AAPD) recommends that a child be brought to the dentist when their first tooth erupts, or by their first birthday, whatever comes first. If you missed this deadline, please don’t worry. We welcome your visit at any age. We also welcome children of all ages who are new to Chino Hills, CA!

Plan in Advance

With young children, a doctor’s visit can be an undertaking. I speak from experience. My first piece of advice is to plan in advance. Start by looking for a pediatric dentist. Pediatric dentists have an additional 2+ years of training after graduating from dental school in childhood growth and development, a small child’s mouth and how that changes as they grow, and what we call behavior management. This means we have studied child psychology and developmental milestones so we can approach the child in a way they will be able to tolerate, and hopefully enjoy!

Pediatric dentists also have training and experience working with children with special health care needs. The best ways to find a pediatric dentist are to ask your pediatrician, ask a friend, or search for a Diplomate of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry at www.abpd.org. Diplomates of the ABPD are pediatric dentists that have graduated from their residency programs AND who have passed a very intense oral board. You can rest assured we are well qualified to care for your little ones.

Another way to streamline your visit is to fill out forms in advance. At our office, we will send you an email with a link, and you can fill it out on your phone or computer at home, whatever is more convenient for you. And if you don’t have a chance before you come in, don’t worry, we can do it here too.

Appointment Time

So now you’re ready to go in for their appointment time! What do you need to think about? For young children I recommend setting the appointment early in the day and planning around nap time and meal time. Set aside an hour for the visit, and bring a list of any medications or anything else you think the dentist may want to know. If you have other children, it can be very helpful to bring another adult to help so you can fully engage with the dentist.

Questions to Ask the Dentist

Below is a list of common questions I get, and questions that you may want to ask during your dental visits:

  • Is the toothbrush I’m using okay?

  • Should my child be using fluoride? Fluoride toothpaste? Supplements?

  • What are some healthy snacks to keep my child cavity free?

  • How do I reach the dentist for an after hours emergency?

  • What should I do about habits like finger sucking or using a pacifier?

  • Are the teeth coming in properly? And at the right time?

  • Does my child have a tongue or lip tie?


We cannot wait to see you and your child(ren) and hope that this information will help you to feel empowered and have a wonderful experience. Call us any time!


Child Abuse Prevention Month // Chino Hills Pediatric Dentist

Let’s Talk About Child Abuse Prevention

Dr. Avani Gandhi

Pine Pediatric Dentistry

Chino Hills, CA

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While April is known for showers and spring flowers, it’s also National Child Abuse Prevention Month.  President Barack Obama issued a Presidential proclamation in 2016 saying, “During National Child Abuse Prevention Month, we recommit to giving every child a chance to succeed and to ensuring that every child grows up in a safe, stable, and nurturing environment that is free from abuse and neglect.” 2019’s theme is “Strong and Thriving Families.”  You may have noticed blue pinwheels while you’re out and about: these are a symbol for child abuse prevention.

I know that this is a difficult topic, but it is a really important one and something we should be talking about.  It is important for us to be advocates for children and families and to help them find the resources they need. Protecting children is everyone’s job.  The World Health Organization defines child abuse as “all forms of physical and/or emotional ill-treatment, sexual abuse, neglect or negligent treatment or commercial or other exploitation, resulting in actual or potential harm to a child’s health, survival, development or dignity in the context of a relationship of responsibility, trust or power.”

A really great resource is https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/preventing/preventionmonth/.  There’s a 2019 Resource Prevention Guide and Tip Sheets that deal with subjects like temper tantrums, keeping your family strong, stress and finances, building resilience in your kids and much more!

The following are six protective factors for families:

  1. Nurturing and attachment

  2. Knowledge of parenting and child development

  3. Parental resilience

  4. Social connections

  5. Concrete support for families

  6. Social and emotional competence of children

It would be wonderful if we could all commit to preventing child abuse and neglect and remember that every child matters.  Let’s stand up, not only for our children, but for all children in our community with whom we come in contact on a daily basis.  We can make a difference by learning more about this difficult topic and loving, noticing, and supporting those around us.


Let's Talk About Nutrition and Dental Health // Chino Hills Children's Dentist

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Let’s Talk Nutrition with Dr. Avani Gandhi of

Pine Smiles Pediatric Dentistry in Chino Hills, CA

In today’s blog post we’re going to talk about WHY.

You might be wondering, as a kid dentist in Chino Hills, why we do things like post recipes. And the answer is; we want to be so much more than the best dentist in San Bernardino County! We want to make our community of Chino Hills a better and healthier place in every way, not just in ways having to do with clean teeth. We also want to help make parents’ jobs easier with things like our tooth brushing charts, and recipes.

We also know that healthy teeth and gums come not only from brushing, flossing, and visiting Pine Smiles Pediatric Dentistry, but from the inside! What you put on your family’s dinner table has a big impact on their dental health. BUT WHY?! Let’s talk about it.

Fruit and vegetables have important vitamins and minerals that keep our bodies going. Below is some information on the most important components of the produce rainbow so that the next time your kids ask you WHY they have to eat their vegetables, you’ll have something more to say than, ‘because I said so.’

CALCIUM: Calcium not only builds strong bones and teeth, but helps your blood clot and your muscles contract. Calcium can be found in oranges, tangerines, dried apricots, broccoli, kale, kiwi, dates, and plums.

VITAMIN C: Vitamin C helps repair tissue, and build collagen. Collagen is needed for making ligaments, blood vessels, skin, cartilage, and ligaments. Vitamin C can be found in citrus fruit, strawberries, bell peppers, papaya, mango, brussels sprouts, and blueberries.

IRON: Iron is needed for hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is the part of red blood cells that carries oxygen from your lungs, to other parts of your body.  Iron can be found in pumpkin, spinach, and broccoli.

VITAMIN A: Vitamin A is important for vision, the immune system, and the reproductive system. It also helps the heart, lung, and kidneys work the right way. Vitamin A can be found in carrots, sweet potato, and winter squash.

B2: Vitamin B2 breaks down fat, carbohydrates, and protein and turns it into energy that our body can use.  B2 can be found in spinach, soy beans, and asparagus.

B3: B3 is good for your skin, digestive system, and nervous system. It also helps balance cholesterol levels. B3 can be found in tomato, avocado, and peas.

We love seeing your healthy smiles in our Chino Hills children’s dental office, and we hope that this post helps get at least one more fruit or vegetable into the rotation at your house.


Children's Dental Health Month // Chino Hills Pediatric Dentist

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Let’s Talk About Children’s Dental Health with Dr. Avani Gandhi of Pine Pediatric Dentistry In Chino Hills, CA

We want the kids of Chino Hills to have the brightest, happiest smiles ever, so we thought we’d go over the four important aspects of pediatric dental care.

 BRUSHING

 Creating good dental habits for your children should start as soon as they wake up. Before breakfast, you should brush your teeth with your kiddos. When children learning good habits, modeling the behavior can be beneficial. Let them watch you, and then work with them on their skills.

 To start with, make sure you’re using a soft bristle toothbrush. If your child can spit their toothpaste in the sink, use a pea sized amount of toothpaste. If you find they’re swallowing their toothpaste, use a very small amount that is about the size of a grain of rice.

 It’s a good idea to establish a consistent brushing pattern. This will ensure that all areas of the mouth are taken care of. Start at the same place, on the same side, and follow the same order when teaching your kids how to brush. For example, start on the left side with your bottom molars. Work your way around to the front bottom teeth, then the right bottom teeth. Be sure you’re paying attention to the back AND front of teeth surfaces. You’ll also want to make sure that they/you are paying attention to the gum line.

 FLOSSING

 Flossing is important because it removes plaque and food that is between teeth. Brushing can only go so far, and flossing does the rest of the job. It’s not only good for your mouth, but helps prevent bad breath, which makes morning cuddles with your kiddos much more enjoyable. Even if your kids’ teeth aren’t touching, you can still work on forming the habit from a young age.

 FLUORIDE

 Make sure there’s fluoride in your toothpaste. In fact, among the many shared ingredients between the two toothpastes we compared, the most important is fluoride. Fluoride helps prevent painful cavities and decay, and is so important for the health of your kids’ teeth. Most kids who have fluoride in their drinking water, and use a toothpaste that contains fluoride are getting a sufficient amount to prevent issues. You can see if it’s in your drinking water here;

https://nccd.cdc.gov/DOH_MWF/Default/Default.aspx 

 In the past, some have said that fluoride toothpaste should only be used for kids old enough to know how to spit into the sink. However, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentists, Pine Pediatric Dentistry, and Dr. Avani Gandhi recommend fluoride toothpaste be used from the start. The amount they recommend using varies depending on age. A tiny amount, the size of a grain of rice, should be used for kiddos two and under. This amount is safe if ingested. However, you should encourage your child to lean forward so that their spit and toothpaste fall out of their mouth. Once they get to the age of two, it’s easier to tell them to spit their toothpaste out and they can have a pea sized amount of toothpaste. Dr. Gandhi may recommend a fluoride application during your child’s cleaning to give their teeth an extra boost of protection. 

 SEALANT

 In addition to brushing and flossing twice a day, you can also take extra steps to protecting your kids’ teeth. The molar teeth are most susceptible to cavities for two reason. First, their chewing surface has more pits and fissures than the rest of the teeth. This can make it more difficult for toothbrush bristles to clean the chewing surface. Second, the majority of chewing is done with your molars, increasing the chances of food and bacteria getting stuck and causing decay. To protect your children’s molars, Pine Pediatric Dentistry in Chino Hills, CA can apply sealant when they come in; usually around 6 years old and 12 years old.

 A report published in July, 2017 by the Cochrane Collaboration, a group that studies and analyzes health information, found that the prevalence of cavities was reduced by 51% in children whose teeth were treated with sealant.