An Interview With Pediatric Dentist Dr. Robert L. Delarosa
October is that glorious time of year when the cooler autumn breeze blows, just about everything comes in pumpkin spice flavor, and you smile when a three-foot-tall zombie Elvis threatens pranks if you don’t pay up with treats. Yes, this month the kiddos will prepare for Halloween and stock pile their candy supply.
As the second-leading month for candy sales in America reported by Nielsen, October is the perfect time to dispel common myths and misconceptions about pediatric dental care and oral hygiene. And Dr. Robert L. Delarosa, a founding partner of Associates in Pediatric Dentistry in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is a perfect subject matter expert.
We asked Dr. Delarosa to provide us with three “whoppers”:
Myth #1: Since baby teeth fall out, they are not as important as permanent teeth are.
“This is something we hear so many times, and it couldn’t be further from the reality of the issue. Primary or baby teeth serve several critical roles in a child’s development, from facial growth to speech development, guidance of eruption of the permanent teeth, and proper jaw function.”
Tip for parents: Taking care of baby teeth is just as important as taking care of permanent teeth.
Myth #2: It is not necessary to repair baby teeth that have developed cavities.
“This is an issue that we have to confront frequently. Baby teeth decay in the same manner in which permanent teeth do, and are subject to the same negative potential consequences, including infection, pain, and loss of tooth structure leading to space loss and bite changes. And all of the baby teeth are not completely lost until our patients are twelve or thirteen years old so decay cannot be ignored or left untreated for any prolonged length of time. In addition, we tell our families that the biggest indicator in patients having decay in the permanent teeth is if they had decay in the baby dentition. So it is very important to keep the baby teeth healthy to promote healthy permanent teeth later in life.”
Tip for parents: It’s important to repair cavities in baby teeth to avoid future negative impacts and to promote healthy permanent teeth.
Myth #3: Chips, crackers and other “non-candy” type treats are not bad for baby teeth.
“While it is true that some types of foods and fluids have more sugar in them, the end result of decay can still occur with any substance that can be converted to acid by the bacteria in our mouths, especially if they are consumed frequently. This is an important concept because we want to avoid ‘grazing’ with any cavity-producing substance. So we recommend our families limit this exposure to a snack or meal times.”
Tip for parents: Limit your child’s consumption of food to meal times and a snack to avoid the potential of cavities from unlimited “grazing.”
Dr. Robert L. Delarosa is the founding partner of Associates in Pediatric Dentistry, a Board Certified Diplomate of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry and a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American College of Dentists.
Dr. Delarosa has served in leadership roles in numerous dental professional organizations at the state, regional and national levels, including President of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.
He has lectured extensively to many organizations and groups, including the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, Southwestern Society of Pediatric Dentistry, Southeastern Society of Pediatric Dentistry and the orthodontic study group (g)nathos.