I have a neighbor down the hall, Dr. Helen Do, who is a pediatric dentist. Her husband is a General Dentist. Dr. Helen went to UCSF, then USC… we’ll let that small detail of going to a rival school go. (Hehehehehe). They have offices in the Koreatown area as well as the Buena Park area called “My Home Dental.” Dr. Helen does O’s annual check-ups at her office and, once in awhile, I’m fortunate enough to be able to ask her questions regarding O’s oral hygiene needs. Yes, my father in-law and husband are also in the field… but it’s just more convenient to have Dr. Helen swing by and take a peek. My husband’s answer to everything is… “she’s fine, babe. Nothings wrong!” Fail. And literally, she lives 30 steps away from me… I can hear her breath if I listen closely. Hehe.
I trust her wholeheartedly with my daughter… so maybe you can too.
Here are some quick tips from Dr. Helen to keep your kids teeth in good shape… no one wants a toddler to need a root canal (That’s where my husband comes into the picture… hehehehe):
- First and foremost, the most common report from parents is that their child does not like to brush (or that their child will not let them brush, if they are younger children).
- My response to the parent, although it may sound harsh, is “either they cry with you to brush or they cry with me for drilling.”
Quick tips from Dr. Helen:
- Brush at least twice daily… before milk and food in the mornings to decrease bacteria in the mouth.
- Start flossing once the spaces between teeth close up.
- Check that the teeth are clean once you are done brushing (I would suggest scraping the teeth with your nails to make sure you didn’t leave any plaque behind).
- Avoid sticky snacks like fruit roll ups/snacks, gummy bears, and even raisins or other dried fruits (give them fresh fruits instead).
- Talk to your pediatrician but I would also highly recommend staying away from those gummy vitamins. They cause a lot of cavities because they contain loads of sugar, are sticky, and slow to melt. Instead try the chewables (but brush right after).
- Other good snacks include cheese, xylitol gum ( once they can chew and spit it out reliably), fruits, veggies.
- I say it’s unrealistic to deprive children of all yummy snacks. Just do it in moderation and try to brush after.
- Also really important is for parents to know cavities are not always black holes. They actually start out as chalky white discolorations on the teeth that often go unnoticed. These are called “white spot lesions/enamel demineralizations”. If detected early enough you can stop these from further progressing into cavities through various preventative measures.
- Don’t wait till you see a cavity to take your child to the dentist. If you see one there’s probably several more you don’t see and by the time it’s visible to you it’s probably too big.
- The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommend that a child should see a dentist within 6 months of getting their first tooth and no later than 12 months.
Thank you, Dr. Helen. I hope these tips help you promote great oral health for your kids.
Her offices are located at:
Los Angeles:3663 W 6th St
Los Angeles, CA 90020
Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri: 9 am – 6 pm
Saturday: 8 am – 2 pm