Little People’s Dental in Utah

February 12th, 2011 in sponsors

Dr. David M. Stewart of Little People’s Dental in Utah is BACK! He’s here to answer your dental questions that you submitted about your children and their dental care.

Last time you guys asked him:What do you think about the theory that it is better to let kids eat a lot of candy in one sitting (say, from their Halloween stash) rather than a few pieces a day? How old should kids be to start flossing? How do you know how much fluoride to give to toddlers- do they need a fluoride tablet or is the toothpaste enough? How harmful is it if a toddler swallows a little toothpaste? Is it possible to have poor dental genetics? If so, how does a parent know (find out) and then do you combat it? Is children’s mouthwash a waste of money? What are your recommended teeth strengthening, go to products? What is a child’s and an adult’s ideal dental regimen? When can I expect my kids to start losing their teeth? I’ve heard that fluoride is good for your teeth but not good for the rest of your body – I’m wondering if this is true and if there are any fluoride free toothpastes? At what age should a child have his/her first check up?

Did you miss that post where he covered those questions? You can check it out here to get all the answers:

Now onto the new questions!

Finger-sucking: when & how to stop?

-Quinn from Limelight Food Photography

Finger sucking is not ideal because it is usually much harder to lose the finger than it is to lose the pacifier.  I find that most children end up sucking their fingers longer than a pacifier.  There are a lot of different approaches to helping children to stop sucking their fingers, and honestly I have not found one that works consistently in all children.  The most consistent result I have found is waiting until the child is willing to try to stop.  Until a child wants to stop sucking his/her finger, I find that most attempts to force are not successful.  Once a child wants to stop, then simple band aid reminders and a reward system can be very effective in helping most children to give up the finger sucking habit.

When should kids start seeing an orthodontist? Some kids are doing braces & retainers at 7 and 8. Our dentist still is watching the
development of my kids’ teeth at 11 & 12. What is “normal”?

-Janet, Marketing Director of Utah Museum of Natural History

When I refer a child to the orthodontist depends on their specific needs. Not all children need to see an orthodontist at seven or eight years of age, but some can benefit from seeing an orthodontist early and having some early intervention orthodontics done.  At each six month visit we assess a child’s teeth to determine whether or not an orthodontic consult would be indicated at that point in time.  Final orthodontic treatment usually will not occur until all of the permanent teeth have erupted into the mouth around 12-15 years of age.

How do you pacify a child that is afraid of the dentist/dentist chair?

-Camille of

This depends on the child and the reason for his/her fear, but I have found that with most children the root of their fear is not wanting to experience pain or discomfort.  The approach to overcoming these fears depends on the child.  In a very anxious child with a lot of work to do, I recommend getting the work done in a manner that does not make the child even more afraid of the dentist.  This sometimes means having to sedate a child to get the work done. This approach is very dependent on the child and the extent of the work needing to be done.  Many children with minor treatment needs can be very successfully managed in the chair by someone that is willing to work through the child’s anxieties. Pediatric dentists have advanced training in sedation and experience treating children with special needs and anxieties. They can be a helpful resource in helping a family with a child anxious about dental treatment.  Sometimes it can take regular recall exams and building a relationship of trust over years to help an anxious child overcome some of their dental fears.

What are some suggestions for a parent whose child doesn’t want to brush their teeth?

-Camille from

At my house parental involved brushing is not a “no” option until the child is at the age where they can appropriately brush and floss their own teeth, which is age nine or ten.  (The studies indicate that until a child is nine or ten years of age they do not have the dexterity to do a complete, independent cleaning of their own teeth with brush and floss).  So I give my children the option of “hard way” or “easy way” as seen on our website at: .
Both options are done with the child laying back on the floor as shown in the picture.  I find once a child realizes that not brushing is not an option; then they choose the “easy way.”

Which pacifier is the best to give your baby, and at what age should they not have one anymore?

-Kim Orlandini from Simply Me

There are many brands of pacifiers on the market and I don’t necessarily recommend one over the other, but instead recommend one that is broad enough that the child does not have to purse their lips tightly to hold onto.  When we tighten our lips around things then it puts pressure on the bones and teeth in the area and this, over time, can start to move teeth and bones around the shape of the pacifier.  The amount of time a child is using the pacifier is also important in determining the potential movement of teeth and bone.  Most children  get rid of the pacifier themselves by two and a half years of age. Until that point I am not that concerned about having them stop using a pacifier.  Once they are about one and a half I recommend that the parent have the child only use the pacifier when they go down to sleep. When they leave the bed the pacifier stays in bed.  I would much rather have a child use a pacifier than a finger, because children seem to grow out of pacifier use more quickly.

Little People’s Dental

1268 W. South Jordan Parkway
Suite 101
South Jordan, UT 84095


(801) 446-8007

Do you have any questions for Dr. David M. Stewart of Little People’s Dental in Utah? Please ask them in the comments section!


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