The Top 10 Questions About Toddler Teeth Answered by a Pediatric Dentist

Published: 11/25/2020

As a parent there are so many questions about raising a little one, so Dr. Alene D’Alesio, a Board Certified Pediatric Dentist and mom of 4, is here to help walk you through some important teeth topics for kids!

#1 – My child is a year old and still doesn’t have teeth. Is this a problem?

NO. Timing is different for each child. Some kids are just late bloomers. My kids didn’t get their first teeth until they were 14 months old!

#2 – When should my child...

When should my child’s first dental visit be? 1 year old
When should a child wean from a bottle? 1 year old
When should a child wean from a pacifier? 1 year old
When should a child wean from a Sippy cup? Before age 2

***The above questions really should be:

When should a PARENT wean from a bottle, pacifier, sippy cup? These tend to be harder habits to break for the parents versus the child!

At the child’s first dental appointment, the dentist will evaluate your child’s teeth, discuss diet, brushing, pacifier/breastfeeding/bottle habits. A child at this young age will likely cry for the brief exam, but the mouth will be wide open so the dentist will be able to get a great exam!

#3 – You’re a dentist, so you probably didn’t let your kids use a pacifier, right?

FALSE. I love the pacifier for many reasons; helps calm a crying baby, studies have shown that pacifiers help reduce the risk of SIDS, and a pacifier habit is a much easier habit to break than a thumb habit. I recommend an orthodontic shaped/angled pacifier nipple. I developed a pacifier weaning system to help get a child off the pacifier because my husband and I struggled so much weaning our first daughter off the pacifier and knew there had to be an easier way!

#4 – Are sippy cups bad if you are so passionate about getting a child off of the sippy cup?

NO. All of my kids used sippy cups. They are great for on-the-go use. The only thing that should EVER be in a sippy cup is WATER!!! Juice, chocolate milk or other sweet drinks should not be in a sippy cup. The easy access to these beverages all day long are a top culprit to cavities in the younger population, which is why you want to transition off the cup sooner rather than later.
Cavities are on the rise in the preschool aged children and many experts believe this has to do with sippy cups filled with sweet drinks. I developed the Stick With Me Stay Put Cup ( because my husband and I couldn’t handle the daily spills as we transitioned to an open cup, but wanted to follow the recommended guidelines from the AAP and AAPD to get kids off the sippy cup.

#5 – Do you give your kids gummy vitamins?

YES. I do tell my patients that “anything sticky is icky”, so when giving my kids chewy vitamins this is a sticky situation. I want to make sure my kids are getting vitamins and the easiest way for me to do this is with the gummies because they all love them. I make sure it is with a meal and they drink water right after, so the vitamin doesn’t stick in the grooves of their teeth. I would rather them have vitamins than nothing at all!

#6 – Do you ever let your kids have any candy or any fun ever?!! LOL!

YES! Kids will be kids. When picking candy, I just choose the right kind of candy. I would rather my kids have chocolate versus taffy or lollipops. Bring on the chocolate!

#7 – Do you know the tooth fairy?!!

YES! My kids all receive “glittery” dollar bills that the tooth fairy brings….it might smell like glitter spray paint when it is placed under their pillow, but my kids LOVE this special touch from the tooth fairy!

Speaking of tooth fairy, what if my child hits their tooth and knocks it out? Depends.

If it is a baby tooth, the tooth fairy should be getting the glittery dollar bill ready. If it is an adult tooth, your dentist will need to see you immediately to try and save the tooth. Emergency rooms see quite a bit of dental trauma from pacifiers, bottles, and sippy cups as a child is learning to walk, these items are in a child’s mouth and can lead to an ER visit if a child lands the wrong way, which is another reason to transition sooner rather than later!

#8 – My child has so much space between all the baby teeth. They’ll definitely need braces, right?

NO. Actually it is quite the opposite. Kids with the nice spacing in the baby teeth usually have more room for the larger adult teeth in comparison to the kids that have the perfect smile in their baby teeth with all of their baby teeth touching. It is recommend to have an orthodontic evaluation around the age of 7, since it is better to correct many orthodontic concerns at an early age.

#9 – My child’s adult teeth look so yellow-is my child not brushing?

NO. When the adult teeth start to come in, they look yellow next to the milky white baby teeth be-cause adult and baby teeth have different amounts of enamel and dentin (the layers of the teeth). Once all the adult teeth come in, this will look more natural, so please don’t go bleach-ing teeth on your 7 year old!

#10 – What is your #1 piece of advice for families to help promote proper oral health?

WATER! Water should be the main drink choice for any child (and adults for that matter). My kids don’t get sweet drinks-water only, except for special occasions-birthday’s holiday’s, parties, etc. Not only does water help protect the teeth and it has no sugar, it is great for a child’s overall health. I love hearing from families when they switch to water and we get reports on how the child is concentrating better in school and feeling better once all the excess sugar is cut out of their diet! Starting these healthy habits at a young age is so important for lifelong healthy smiles!

Do you have questions for Dr. D'Alesio? Please share in the comments!


Dr. Alene D’Alesio is a mom of 4 girls, a Board Certified Pediatric Dentist, and an entrepreneur. She loves using her mommy background and her dental background to help find solutions to common parent/dental problems. She patented and developed the Fridababy Pacifier Weaning System (A pacifier system to wean a child off the pacifier in as few as 5 days!) and the Stick with Me Stay Put Cup. As a dentist, Dr. D'Alesio knows that prolonged use of a sippy cup filled with sugary drinks can quickly lead to cavities, but as a mom she was frustrated with the constant spills when transitioning her kids to a big kid cup. Her Stick With Me Stay Put Cup helps a child learn to drink from an open cup MINUS the spills. WIN for both the child and the parent! Cheers to one less mess to clean up!