Parent teaching daughter to brush teeth

Tips for Protecting Your Child Against Tooth Decay

Most parents in Murray don’t see the need to visit a pediatric dentist until their child gets tooth decay. However, pediatric care should start when the child is an infant.

Regular checkups ensure the baby stays healthy and free of dental diseases. Tooth decay in children causes painful infections and constant crying in children.

What is tooth decay?

Another term for tooth decay is baby bottle tooth decay or dental caries. The upper front teeth get white spots on the gum line.

These spots can be hard to spot, and the dentist will have to use special equipment. It’s a common chronic infectious disease for children. If not prevented, it becomes painful for the child, costly to treat and at times causes life-threatening infections.

What causes tooth decay in children?

Acid-producing bacteria cause tooth decay in children. Parents and caregivers pass the bacteria through saliva when sharing cups or spoons. Other times can be when cleaning the pacifier in their mouth or when they test food before feeding the baby.

Tooth decay will also happen if you continue exposing your child to liquids other than water. Do not also let the child take these drinks from a bottle or sippy cup. Bacteria in the child’s mouth changes the added sugars in foods and drinks to acid.

Children holding apples

The acid then leads to decay as it dissolves the teeth’s outer parts. In most cases, this scenario happens when the child sleeps with milk, a formula bottle, juice, sugar water, soft drinks, or sugared drinks in their mouth. It may look like an easy way to put the baby to sleep, but it affects their teeth.

    • How can parents prevent their baby from getting tooth decay?
      See a dentist when pregnant to ensure good oral health.
    • After giving birth, take care of your baby’s teeth. Gently wipe the gums using a clean washcloth until the baby is a year old. When the first teeth appear, use a soft baby brush. You can use a small amount (grain of rice size) of fluoride toothpaste to clean.
      Once they are a year old, brush their teeth twice a day (before bed and after breakfast) for 2 minutes. Continue with this amount of toothpaste until the child is three years.
    • Putting your child to bed with food or a bottle causes choking and ear infections too.
    • Let your child drink fluoridated water. Use a prescribed fluoride supplement if your tap water lacks enough fluoride,
    • Teach the child to use a regular cup. Fill the bottle or sippy cup with water if the child is not ready to use a cup.
    • Limit sticky and sweet foods including fruit-roll ups, gummies, cookies, candy, crackers, and chips.
    • If you must give them juice, make sure it’s during meals. Best to skip it completely though.

Tooth decay is preventable. Make regular appointments with the pediatric dentist in Murray for baby teeth checkups. The check-ups should happen at least once before the child becomes one year old.

Regular checkups should follow as the child grows to ensure healthy teeth. Doing this ensures the child has strong, healthy teeth and a lifetime of smiles.

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Happy Knits is a community of parents sharing their tips for better parenting. We include parents of all ages, walks of life, and backgrounds.
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