Little Healthy Smiles is Ready to Make Your Child’s Trip To The Dentist a Positive One | Newport Mesa Moms

The team of dentists at Little Healthy Smiles knows that taking your child to the dentist can be confusing and nerve-wracking for both parent and kid.  But they are ready to make your child’s visit a positive one.  We asked them a few of the most common questions we think parents have, and love their tips for how to help an apprehensive child prepare for their trip to the dentist.

When do I need to bring my child to the dentist for the first time?

According to The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), your child should have his or her first dental visit before their 1st birthday (“1st visit by 1st birthday”). Ideally, a child should visit our office when their first tooth appears which is typically around 6-7 months, but no later than their 1st birthday.

Really, that early?  They don’t even have all their teeth then.

Yes. Your child should see a dentist at an early age due to the possibility of Early Childhood Caries (ECC), best described as tooth decay in children under the age of six which affects over 23% of children in the U.S.

What causes tooth decay in children so fast?

Dental decay starts when foods (ie. milk) containing carbohydrates are left on teeth.  Bacteria that normally live in the mouth change these foods, making acids.  The acids over time cause tooth decay. 

What is the best way to prevent tooth decay in young children?

I recommend parents use a toothbrush with soft bristles and a small round head, specifically one designed for their child’s age. Most toothbrush brands will write on the front packaging the bristle type and age range for that specific toothbrush. Parents are also encouraged to brush their child’s teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. Once when the child wakes up and once right before bedtime. After nighttime brushing, a child should not eat or drink anything but water.

Is fluoride toothpaste okay for young children to use?

Flouridated toothpaste is generally safe for toddlers over 12 months. Make sure the amount used is no larger than a pea size.  

When can my child be in charge of brushing their own teeth? 

Generally between the ages of 6 and 9.  Every child is unique.  The important thing to pay attention to is whether the child can hold a toothbrush correctly. 

How often do I need to bring my child to the dentist? 

Every 6 months is the standard of care to build confidence in the child and for the dentist to monitor for potential developmental problems.

Can I go to a general dentist, or does it need to be a pediatric dentist?

Although most dentists are trained in pediatric dentistry, not all dental offices are equipped to see children.  You want to choose an office that your child feels comfortable visiting.

What should I do if my child is scared of the dentist?

Here are a few tips for an apprehensive child.  
1. Never say “It’s not going to hurt.”
2. Be a good dental role model.  Have your child with you at your next preventive care appointment so they are used to the dental environment. 
3.  Use positive reinforcements when they have a good dental visit.
Little Healthy Smiles is located in Costa Mesa and offers 5-star rated and comfortable dental care for children (and services for adults at OC Healthy Smiles), including teeth cleanings, dental crowns, and more.
1202 Bristol Street, #140
Costa Mesa, CA 92626



Join The Newport Mesa Moms Network Community

Stay up-to-date with what is happening in-and-around Newport Beach, Huntington Beach and Costa Mesa, CA with local events, community highlights, and exclusive deals.