Learn More About Early Dental Care & Developing Great Oral Health Habits


At Pediatric Dentistry Kahala, we know how important it is to instill great oral health habits as early as possible. Dr. Hirai wants to make sure that his young patients have the most positive and comfortable experience possible at his Kahala, HI office. Our staff has the training, expertise, and experience to provide the highest quality of dental care for your child, so that they’ll grow up loving their smile. Whether you need tips for preventing baby bottle tooth decay, or dealing with infant tooth eruption.

We know that bringing your child in for their first dentist appointment, or subsequent visits after that, can be a bit scary. We’re always here to help, and provide you with the answers to all your oral health questions. Below you’ll find answers to some of our most frequently asked questions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Infant Oral Hygiene & Tooth Eruption

How should I clean my baby’s teeth?
You can purchase an infant’s toothbrush with soft bristles and a small head at a variety of stores. Then, gently brush their teeth before bedtime to remove any plaque that has built up throughout the day.

When should we start using toothpaste?
Begin using toothpaste when your child turns 3. Also, be sure to supervise them closely when they begin brushing their teeth on their own, and monitor how much toothpaste they use (it should be a pea sized amount.)

When do the first teeth start to erupt?
Your child’s first set of teeth, starting with the two lower front teeth, will develop when they’re around six months old. Then, the remaining teeth will begin to come in, until your child has a complete set of 20 primary teeth around ages 2-3.

How can I help my child through the teething stage?
There are a couple different options when it comes to soothing your child. You can purchase teething biscuits and frozen teething rings at your local drugstore, as well as medications to rub on your infant’s gums.

How do I soothe my child’s toothache?
Use a cold compress wrapped in cloth, or have them rinse out their mouth with warm salt water. You can give the child acetaminophen for the pain, and if it persists, give our office a call.

Is thumbsucking harmful for my child’s teeth?
Over an extended period of time, thumbsucking can cause crowded or crooked teeth, or bite problems. Most children stop these habits on their own, but Dr. Hirai can make recommendations if the problem persists.

Is my child getting enough fluoride?
Dr. Hirai can evaluate the fluoride level of your child’s primary source of water, and typically water provides sufficient levels to maintain a healthy smile. If your child isn’t getting enough fluoride, we can provide supplements.

The First Dentist Visits & Protecting Your Child’s Teeth

When should I bring my child in for their first dental visit?
Bring your child to our Kahala, HI office anywhere between the ages of 6 months to one year. When you see their first teeth come in, that’s a good indicator that it’s time to make an appointment.

Why should my child see a pediatric dentistry instead of a regular dentist?
Pediatric dentists, like Dr. Hirai, specialize in caring for the oral health of infants and young children. Also, they have training and experience working with children to ease their fear of the dentist, ensuring their initial visits are fun and comfortable.

What is baby bottle tooth decay and how do I prevent it?
Bacteria, sugars, or other carbohydrates that aren’t cleaned from the surface of the teeth can attack your teeth and break down enamel. When the enamel breaks down too much, a cavity can form. Prolonged nursing or giving your child a bedtime bottle, when they’re beyond 12-14 months of age, can cause more rapid tooth decay. Be sure to brush your child’s teeth before bedtime, and fill their bottle with water, so that the mouth can fight plaque overnight and prevent cavities.

What are dental sealants?
Sealants are used to cover the grooved and pitted surfaces of your child’s teeth, to protect these hard-to-reach places and prevent cavities. They can effectively protect your teeth for many years, and prevent harmful food particles from getting caught in your teeth.

How safe are dental X-rays?
With modern technology, the amount of radiation in a dental X-ray exam is extremely low. Our office minimizes the exposure of child patients to radiation.

If my child gets a cavity in a baby tooth, should it be filled?
Absolutely. Untreated dental problems can cause pain, infection of the gums and jaws, and premature tooth loss. The health of the primary teeth is critical, as widespread tooth decay on the “baby” teeth can impair the development of the permanent teeth. We can greatly enhance the oral and overall health of your child by taking care of oral health issues as soon as possible.

What do I do if my child knocks out a permanent tooth?
If this happens, grab the tooth by the crown rather than the root, and have your child hold it in the socket with a clean cloth or gauze. If it can’t be held in place, place it in a container with milk. Either way, you should call our office immediately to save the tooth.

How do I protect my child’s teeth if they play sports?
Mouthguards are the best way to protect your child's teeth, and they can be customized to fit your child’s teeth in our office.

Contact Our Kahala, HI Office Today!

If you have any other questions about your infant’s oral health, give our office a call at (808) 737-0076. One of our dedicated staff members would be happy to assist you. To help make sure your child is on track with their growth and development, schedule an appointment for your first visit today. Dr. Hirai and his team look forward to seeing you soon!