Top Tips To Prevent Baby Tooth Decay
Your baby’s teeth are extremely important! The formation of adult teeth can be severely affected if, too early, baby teeth are lost. For this reason, baby tooth decay must be prevented. Additionally, baby teeth that are decayed can lead to life-threatening infections, cause pain, and be extremely costly if not prevented.
Of all the chronic infectious childhood diseases, the most common is early childhood tooth decay. Tooth decay in babies may be referred to as “baby bottle tooth decay” or “nursing caries”. As soon as the first tooth comes in, tooth decay can develop. That’s why it’s essential that good, healthy dental habits be established early in life.
Tooth Decay in Babies
Many people are astonished to hear that tooth decay in babies can even exist. What could a baby possibly get into that would make their teeth decay? Truth be told, however, acid-producing bacteria is what contributes to a baby’s tooth decay. This kind of bacteria can be passed from one person to another through saliva in the following manners:
- A caregiver or parent using their own mouth to clean off a pacifier.
- Before feeding babies, testing the food on the spoon.
- Sharing a cup or spoon.
Tooth decay in babies can also be generated by exposure, over a long period of time, to fluids other than water. The mouth changes sugars, either natural or added, into acid. This causes teeth to decay because the outer portion of teeth are dissolved by the acid.
Lastly, and most commonly, putting your child to bed with a bottle of anything but water encourages teeth to decay. Even if you’re not putting your child to bed with a bottle, if you let your child drink the wrong kinds of liquids throughout the day, the same result can occur.
Baby Tooth Decay – The Signs
How do you know if your baby is suffering tooth decay? The following could be present and should be checked by your dentist as soon as possible:
- White spots on the upper front teeth
- White spots at the gum line
To prevent tooth decay in your baby, take the following steps:
- Before the age of one, make a dental appointment for your child.
- When it comes to juice, don’t serve it at all or only serve it during meals.
- The consumption of sticky or sweet foods should be limited.
- Try to avoid your child using a sippy cup or bottle for long periods. If it becomes necessary, however, only put water in the bottle or cup. (Sippy cups and bottles should never be used as pacifiers.)
- As soon as possible, drinking from a regular cup should be taught and encouraged in your child.
- Is your tap drinking water fluoridated? Find out.
- Don’t put your child to bed with food or a bottle.
- Proper care of your baby’s teeth is essential whether bottle-feeding or breast-feeding. At 12 to 36 months, your child’s teeth should be brushed for two minutes twice a day. Until your child’s third birthday, use a smear of fluoride toothpaste. Before bed and after breakfast are the best times to brush. From birth to 12 months, with a clean baby washcloth, gently wipe the gums and mouth clean. Gently brush after seeing the first tooth with a soft baby toothbrush and a tiny amount of fluoride toothpaste.
One of the best tips of all is to practice good oral hygiene on yourself. While you are pregnant and while your baby is breast-feeding, your health is essential. Good oral health can contribute to your overall health. After that, you’ll be setting a good example by practicing good oral hygiene. One that, hopefully, your child will follow.
Starting at six months of age, Real Smile Dental recommends that an oral health risk assessment be done and the assignment of a “dental home” established for your child. It’s never too early to start taking care of your baby’s teeth. Regular visits and a thorough initial exam should be done in the early toddler years. If you’d like more information, feel free to contact one of our knowledgeable representatives today.