Tips for Healthy Baby Teeth
Endless snacking and juice at bedtime are two of the reasons so many preschoolers suffer from extensive dental decay. Giving a child soda or bottled water rather than fluoridated tap water also contributes to the problem. And not brushing regularly makes it worse.
The result is that children often have to undergo general anesthesia to treat multiple cavities.
Here are a few tips for parents to help prevent the decay of baby teeth:
• Take an infant to the dentist before the child’s first birthday for an assessment of cavity risk, even if the child has only a few teeth.
• In general, brush the teeth of children two or younger with a bit of fluoride toothpaste twice a day. At two, start to use a pea-size dollop.
• Reduce snacking. Eating any starchy or sugary food causes the acidity in the mouth to increase significantly, leaving teeth awash in an acid bath—which is hard on enamel—for 20 minutes until saliva reduces the acidity. The frequency of exposure to acid is more important than the sugar content of food.
• Do not share utensils with a child or “clean” a pacifier in your mouth, then give it to your infant. Research has shown that parents or caregivers with active tooth decay can pass cavity-causing bacteria via saliva.
• Brush preschoolers’ teeth for them.
Of course, if you have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to call our office and schedule an appointment.