Julie M. Russo D.M.D.

Diplomate of the American
Board of Pediatric Dentistry

The Importance of Baby Teeth

Baby teeth have a purpose and it is very important they are kept in place until they are lost naturally.

  1. Healthy baby teeth help your child to chew properly. This allows them to eat a proper and healthy diet.
  2. Baby teeth aid in proper speech development.
  3. Most importantly, baby teeth save space for the permanent teeth. A healthy smile can make children feel good about the way they look.
Birthday cake

When should my child first see the pediatric dentist?

"First visit by first birthday" is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD.org). Your child should visit Dr. Russo when the first tooth comes in, usually between six and twelve months. Early examination and preventive care will protect your child's smile now and in the future.

Why so early? What dental problems could a baby have?

Dental problems can begin early. A big concern is Early Childhood Caries (also known as baby bottle or nursing caries). The earlier we see the child, the better the chance of preventing dental problems. We will review proper nutrition and how to care for your child's teeth. Cavities are totally preventable with the right care.

When should bottle/breast feeding be stopped?

Children should be weaned between 12 and 14 months to avoid damage to their teeth.

When should I start cleaning my baby's teeth?

The sooner the better! You will need to help your child brush until they are about age 8. All teeth that touch need to be flossed daily. Do not use fluoridated toothpaste until they are able to spit, around age 3.

Team Approach to Total Health

Good oral health is an important part of total health. When treating children, we often work with pediatricians, other physicians and dental specialists. All young people are served best through this team approach.