Ask a Pediatric Dentist and Dad: Spotlight on AAPD President Dr. Delarosa
AAPD President Dr. Delarosa offers insights on caring for healthy little teeth from the perspective of a pediatric dentist and a dad.
Dr. Robert Delarosa is the new AAPD president and lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana with his wife and two children. In addition to golfing, scuba diving and traveling, one of his biggest passions is caring for the health of little teeth. As a pediatric dentist and father of twins, Dr. Delarosa shares his expert advice on taking care of those pearly whites.
How did you get your kids excited about brushing?
With twins, it was important for us to establish consistent daily routines, which included taking care of teeth in a fun way. We used a calendar checklist each morning and night to remind the kids to brush and floss before school and while getting ready for bed. We also found playing a fun song while brushing kept their attention long enough to ensure we cleaned all their little teeth. A handy trick we discovered was letting our kids pick out their favorite flavor of toothpaste or a toothbrush with a fun cartoon character to get them excited about brushing! We also showed them how important it was for us to take care of our own teeth so we would have healthy mouths as well.
What are your top toothpaste tips?
Look for toothpaste that includes fluoride and the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance. For small children, you’ll want to use very small amounts of toothpaste when brushing. For example, children under 3-years-old only need a grain of rice-size amount. For 3 to 6-years-old, a pea-sized amount is recommended. Important note: supervise brushing until kids are around 7 – 8 years of age, or able to tie their own shoes, to ensure your little ones are brushing properly and not swallowing toothpaste.
What are the most frequently asked questions from parents and caregivers within your practice? How do you respond?
We are frequently asked what can be done to avoid cavities, and our prompt response is to brush two minutes twice a day, floss daily, avoid sugary snacks and see your pediatric dentist every six months. We stress these activities as the basics for a cavity free experience.
When should parents first bring their children in to the pediatric dentist? How often do they need to come back?
The AAPD recommends children visit a pediatric dentist when the first tooth appears or by their first birthday, whichever one comes first. Children should then come in for preventive check-ups every six months to ensure proper oral hygiene. This first visit is important because it establishes a Dental Home, or home base, for children’s dental needs. I like to tell families to think of it as a familiar and comfortable place where they can find the tools and information they need to help keep little teeth healthy and cavity-free.
What are you looking forward to most this year as the new president of AAPD?
I look forward to helping to further AAPD’s success in talking to parents and caregivers about the critical importance of early oral care. Providing kids with good oral health care and teaching habits for healthy teeth is a key part of their overall health as an adult – and yet it still falls under the radar. So I want to use my passion and enthusiasm to get the word out. And finally, I hope to sit down and have a chat with the Mouth Monsters!
Robert L. Delarosa, D.D.S
Dr. Robert Delarosa is the founding partner in a group private practice in Baton Rouge, La. He is a graduate of the Louisiana State University School of Dentistry and received his certificate in pediatric dentistry from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. He was board certified in 1991 and is a fellow in the American College of Dentists. Dr. Delarosa has had leadership roles in numerous dental professional organizations at the state and regional levels, and was the Louisiana state leader for the AAPD Head Start Oral Health Initiative. As AAPD president, his presidential agenda will include the creation of a task force to investigate the growing debt burden of recent graduates and potential avenues of relief, as well as continuing to act upon the recommendations of the previously created task forces, specifically identifying future volunteer leaders and enhancing chapter relations. And finally, he will continue to work closely with the board and staff to sustain the value of AAPD membership and organizational strength.