Peanut Allergies in Children
As some of you may be aware, my son was diagnosed with peanut allergy last week. I must say that it has been a psychological and emotional roller coaster learning what food to get out of the house, what he can eat, what he can't eat, which restaurants have the highest chance of peanut contamination, what to do in case of emergency, where to carry an epi pen, and everything else that goes into having a young child with peanut allergy. But after all of the stress, I'm very grateful for all of the parents in my practice whose children have food allergies who have given me advice and supported me as I learn to raise a child with food allergies.
Allergies in the Dental Office
We've always been in-tune with allergies because many of the children in our practice have allergies of all kinds. Here's a few things to know about allergies and how they can relate to dentistry:
Any latex allergy should be brought to our attention immediately. We always “flag” the records of our latex-sensitive patients to prevent accidental exposures.
Most dental materials are free of common allergens, but if you have any concerns it's never a problem to ask. We carry all of the MSDS sheets for the materials that we use, so the information regarding ingredients of all of our materials are readily available.
We are prepared to handle allergy emergencies, should an emergency occur. Dr. Facko is certified in pediatric advanced life support (PALS) and his staff is certified in basic life support (CPR). We stay up-to-date with emergency procedures and protocols so that we are prepared to keep your child safe in every way possible. We have emergency medications, including Benadryl and epinephrine, on-hand at all times.
When in doubt, ask! And don't be shy about reminding us about your child's allergies. We keep track, but when it comes to keeping your child safe we would rather double- and triple-check to keep everyone healthy. You won't offend us if you remind us about your child's allergies!
Seasonal allergies can present a different type of challenge for your child's teeth. Many of the medications that are used to treat seasonal allergies, including antihistamines and steroids, can cause a reduction in your child's salivary flow rate, also called dry mouth. Your child's saliva is a very important protective mechanism against tooth decay. It helps to rinse and clear your child's mouth after eating. The medications used to treat seasonal allergies can also be high in sugar. Some things to keep in mind for your child with seasonal allergies are:
After taking allergy medicine, be sure to rinse with water to clear as much sugar from your child's mouth as possible. The same goes for inhalers – rinse with water after each use.
Encourage your child to drink plenty of fluids, especially tap water! Staying hydrated will help to combat dry mouth, and tap water also contains fluoride to strengthen your child's teeth.
All of our usual advice about diets low in sugar and carbohydrates apply even more to children with dry mouth, who are already at a higher risk for cavities. Keep those sugar sweetened beverages away!
Thank you again to all of the parents who have been so supportive and have shared their experiences with me. We are gradually learning to live with a food allergy, but it is a long process! I try to spend a lot of time educating parents in our practice about their child's diet and hygiene, but it is amazing how much I learn from parents along the way, and I am very grateful to know all of you.