Baby Steps: Why does my Baby Need to See the Dentist?

November 22nd, 2021

Here is an amazing fact: by the time your child reaches kindergarten class, more than 5 out of his or her 20 classmates will have dental cavities! Imagine that for a moment. Your child has just started the first phase of his or her educational journey and now more than a quarter of his or her classmates have a dental cavity.  It's 28 percent to be exact, per the National Institute of Craniofacial Research.

Maybe you, as a parent, remember having dental cavities, as a child.  And you might be thinking, "What's the big deal. Don't those teeth fall out anyway?" The answer comes later in this blog.

The CDC reports that dental cavities is the most prevalent chronic disease that our children are facing.  This is more common that getting diagnosed with asthma or allergies!

What's the big deal. Don't those Baby Teeth Fall Out Anyway?

First, as a parent, I do not want to expose my child to any forms of disease, especially something that can be avoided by following a few simple steps at home.

Second, think about the time you had to have a filling at the dentist as a child. Though there are now modern advances to decrease pain and discomfort, there is still an experience that may not be all too pleasant.

Thirdly, a child who is in pain from a cavity will not be able to focus properly at school or at home.  Sleep at home can also be disturbed, not only by your child, but in everyone at home.

Finally, there is cost associated with treating dental cavities.  There is direct costs from the procedure.  Also indirect costs need to be factored in such as, loss of income from taking your child to have a filling done, travel time, and time away from school.

There are physical and psychological factors that are associated with treating dental decay.

Instead of treating a problem after it has already occurred why not prevent the problem in the first place!

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 89 percent of children age one year had an office based physician visit, while only 1.5 percent had a dental office visit.

Recommendations for Oral Health Care for your Infant.

Here are some recommendations that will give your child the best possible outcome of having optimal oral health care.  Establish a dental home by age 1 for your child.  This means having your child seen by the dentist by your child's 1st birthday.  During the initial exam several areas will be discussed.  This includes:

1. Oral exam of your child's mouth.

This will include an age appropriate demonstration of gum and teeth cleaning with fluoride treatment.

2. Assessment of your child's risk for dental decay.

This will include a road map to fend off any potential risks for getting cavities and recommendations for diet, flouride use, and the frequency for checkup appointments.

3. Cavities management.

If your child does have a cavity, then your dentist can give you ways to treat the cavity at an early stage.  Most general dentists do not want to see infants, so make sure to seek out a pediatric dentist.

4. Injury prevention.

Learn how to decrease the risk to dental injury at home and also learn what to do if there is a dental injury, should that occur.

5. Teething.

Find out the signs and symptoms of teething and ways to treat it in easy steps at home.

6. Lip and tongue tie assessment.

If you child has had difficulty with breastfeeding or bottle feeding, then you would want to see your pediatric dentist as soon as you notice this issue.  You can find more information about this here.

7. Non nutritive oral habits.

If your child loves to use her pacifier, sucks her finger, grinds her teeth, or has an abnormal tongue thrust, then all of these areas can be addressed by your pediatric dentist.

Instead of worrying about cavities, give your child the best chance of having a great start by seeing a dentist by age one!  Your child will have many milestones in their future.  Having a cavity shouldn't be one of them!

All Smiles Pediatric Dentistry

At All Smiles Pediatric Dentistry, we incorporate proven techniques to share with you and your child at each dental checkup visit. Dr. Allen Job and his team are committed to providing the latest in oral health care prevention. Check out our monthly blog posts! Our practice is centrally located in San Diego, CA.

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Scheduling an appointment for your child is easy! Start here to schedule an appointment. All of our forms are online. Fill them out securely from your smartphone or tablet and hit send. On appointment day, your child will be seen at their scheduled time. For example, if you have a 9:00 AM appointment, your child will be seen at 9:00 AM.

Dr. Allen Job, DDS, MS, MPH, MS is a board certified pediatric dentist who practices in San Diego, California, where he specializes in prevention. For more than a decade, served as assistant professor for the Department of Pediatric Dentistry at Loma Linda University School of Dentistry (LLUSD). He is currently an instructor at LLUSD.




Baby Steps Series: Thumb Sucking, Pacifiers, and Your Baby’s Teeth

March 9th, 2016

Baby Steps Series: Thumb Sucking, Pacifiers, and Your Baby’s Teeth

Sucking is a common instinct for babies and the use of a pacifier or their thumb offers a sense of safety and security, as well a way to relax.

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the majority of children will stop using a pacifier and stop sucking their thumb on their own between the ages of two and four years of age. Prolonged thumb sucking or use of a pacifier can have dental consequences and needs be taken care of sooner, rather than later.

Many dentists favor pacifier use over thumb sucking because it makes it easier for parents to control and even limit the use of a pacifier. If thumb sucking lingers, the same strategies used to break the baby from using the pacifier can be used for thumb sucking.


  • Try to find "orthodontically correct" pacifiers, as they may reduce the risk of dental problems.
  • Never dip a pacifier in sugar or honey to calm the baby.
  • Give your baby a bottle of water at bedtime, never juice.

Dental Complications

Long term pacifier use can lead to an assortment of dental complications including:

  • The bottom teeth leaning inward
  • The top teeth slanting outward
  • Misalignment of the baby’s jaw

The risk of any or all of these things happening is greatly increased if thumb sucking and pacifier use is sustained after the baby’s teeth start to come in.

Breaking the Thumb Sucking and Pacifier Habit

Most toddlers and children will stop sucking their thumb or using a pacifier between the ages of two and four on their own. However, if intervention is necessary here are a few tips to help your child break the habit:

  • Slowly decreasing the use of a pacifier can be effective for many children. This method does not work very well with thumb sucking.
  • Thumb sucking can be more difficult to break. Dr. Allen Job may recommend using an over the counter cream that you put on the child’s thumb; it doesn’t taste good and usually does the trick.
  • Rewards can also help with the process.
  • If these simple commonly used strategies do not work, there are oral devices that will prevent a child from sucking their thumb or a pacifier.

Talk to Dr. Allen Job and our team, as we have many tricks up our sleeves that will be effective in breaking your child’s thumb sucking or pacifier use.  Contact All Smiles Pediatric Dentistry today to schedule your child's dental visit.

*This blog is part of the Baby Steps Series. Look for future blogs in this series.

Dr. Allen Job, DDS, MS, MPH, MS is a board certified pediatric dentist who practices in San Diego, California, where he specializes in prevention.  He is also an assistant professor at Loma Linda University Department of Pediatric Dentistry.