Eradicating childhood caries: How one pediatric dentist is championing healthy eating habits to her patients
Step inside the colorful world of Newton Dentistry for Kids in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and you will find there is a lot more happening than just dental treatments.
Dr. Christine Landes, a pediatric dentist who has been in practice for 20 years, includes complimentary salivary diagnostic testing and nutrition counselling for all of her patients. Here, nutrition is a focus every day – and not just certain times of year like National Nutrition Month in March.
“It’s an added value to our practice. If you can help your patients control the bacteria in their mouth [through healthy eating], you help to control the disease.”
Dr. Landes has found that making two visits is key to treatment. Each patient begins with a chairside exam where salivary tests are conducted. If the activity levels are on the low end, Dr. Landes and the patient talk about the great job the patient is doing taking care of his or her teeth. If results are at the moderate to high level, a separate appointment is made with the in-house nutritionist. Part of the treatment includes parents keeping a food diary on their child’s eating habits so they can determine why they have higher levels. Salivary diagnostics are taken at every visit in order to gauge how well the patients are doing.
Dr. Landes has found that by separating the two appointments, there are less distractions and parents are able to get information and advice they can use in their everyday lives by working one-on-one with a specialist. The results have been very positive for both patients and parents. They have noticed a decrease in cavities when the levels are down.
“The thing with nutrition is that a lot of parents are not aware of what can be bad for their child’s teeth. I’ve had people tell me they make their own apple juice, but we have to educate them that this is still filled with lots of sugar.”
Her advice to new dentists when it comes to treating patients is to look at more than just a patient’s teeth. “When you can connect with your patient as whole, the dentistry just comes easy.”