When should your child first visit the dentist?

Ellie didn’t start getting teeth until she was 14 months, but Zach’s teeth started coming in at 3 months. With both of them I had no idea when I was suppose to start taking care of those teeth or even when I was suppose to take them to the dentist.

We start seeing the pediatrician the day their born, but when are we suppose to start seeing the dentist?  The fabulous Pediatric Dentist Dr. Houri Fatourachi sat down with us to answer this question and a few others.

Dr. Houri runs All Smiles Children Dentistry here in North Country San Diego.   She also the Mom of 2 beautiful daughters, so this busy mom knows whats she’s talking about!

When should your child frist visit the dentist

 

At what age should kids see the dentist for the first time. Why?

 

American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends all children to be seen by a dentist ( hopefully a pediatric dentist) by their first birthday or six months after eruption of first primary tooth, whichever is sooner to establish a dental home for them.

 

Zach already has 6 teeth!  How do I brush them?  What kind of toothpaste should I be using?

 

Best way to brush is to lay him down on your lap and brush from top, don’t try brushing from front of his face, your toothbrush will end up on his lips and at best tip of his teeth, laying him down gives you a great view and you can brush along the gum well that way. For him use a training toothpaste without fluoride for now and around 18 months to 2 years we would like to start using fluoridated toothpaste in very very small amounts . Also always use a soft or extra-soft toothbrush.

 

What about flossing?  What age is appropriate?  Any suggestions on technique? 

 

Flossing is only necessary if teeth have close contacts and mainly on the back, most kids don’t need to floss till 2 1/2-3, but there are exceptions also, when they are crowded and need flossing sooner. (Hard to describe it, that one I have to demonstrate in person:)

 

Ellie didn’t start getting teeth until she was 14 months.  At what age should a parent start worrying if teeth aren’t coming in.  

 

That is a great question, there is really no right age to get baby teeth, 5-6 months is an average age and nothing more. Usually we don’t want parents to worry till 16-18 months, there are some really rare cases that kids won’t get their teeth, but it is so rare that in 14 + years I have not seen any cases. Kids grow differently, every child growth and development is unique to himself and everyone gets teeth in different age, but what we look at is the order of teeth eruption to ensure proper growth and detect in problem that might be along the way.
Are there certain foods you would suggest for toddler to help their teeth?  Anything they should stay away from?

 

Natural food are the best food, the processed food kids have the healthier their teeth will be. Give them plenty fruits and vegetables, be aware of some healthy snacks like granola bars  and gold fish crackers that stick to teeth. Have them get used to drinking water.

 

At what age do you recommend getting rid of bottles and pacifiers? How do you feel about juice in bottles?
Again, our academy recommends discontinue bottle and pacifier by age 1, but as a mom I realize that is not the reality in a lot of households. I usually recommend age 2 for both of them and limit pacifier to bedtime. Main reason for bottle is that most people put kids to bed with bottle and that is main cause of caries on small children. So long as kids don’t fall asleep with bottle, you can give them milk in them just make sure to clean teeth before putting them to bed.
I don’t recommend giving juice to kids at all, like I said before, juice is empty calories with no real nutritional values, juice should be a treat on special occasions and preferably part of a meal.

 

If you could give one piece of advise to all parents about their baby and their teeth what would it be?

 

Stay away from fruit snacks and fruit roll ups , I have seen too many parents thinking they are not giving their kids chocolate but something healthier and in fact they are worst than any chocolate bar, filled with sugar and stick to teeth. Also juice even when says all natural is still 50% sugar and it is not good for kids, teach your kids to enjoy the real fruit not imitation fruits!

 

Are you new to North County San Diego or need a new Pediatric Dentist?  Dr. Houri is amazing and she is amazing with kids.  Visit her website here or just call and set up a appointment (760) 734-4400.  Of course you can follower her on Facebook.

 

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