Children’s teeth are as important as adult teeth and therefore should be taken care of accordingly. In fact, children’s teeth are more prone to decay, particularly infants and toddlers because of what is known as Baby Bottle Tooth Decay.
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay primarily affects the two front teeth, but can occur on any visible tooth. It’s most commonly caused when a baby’s teeth are frequently exposed to sugar and not cleaned afterwards. For instance, putting a baby to bed with a bottle and not brushing their teeth afterwards can lead to Baby Bottle Tooth Decay.
Tooth decay can also occur from caregiver to baby transmission, such as when the caregiver of the baby puts the pacifier or baby spoon into their mouth and then to the baby’s. If there is cavity causing bacteria present in the caregiver, it can be passed on to the baby.
With these things in mind, here are ways to prevent tooth decay in infants and toddlers:
- Wash baby’s gums with a clean washcloth or damp gauze after every meal
- Avoid putting pacifiers, spoons, and other objects that enter a baby’s mouth in your own mouth
- Use only milk, formula, or breast milk in baby bottles. Babies and children should not have sugar water or juice in their bottles before bed
- Use only clean pacifiers at bedtime
- Brush teeth with a rice grain size amount of toothpaste when the first tooth comes through
Children should pay a visit to the dentist when their first tooth comes in. Any questions and concerns about tooth decay and other common ailments affecting a child’s dental health can be directed at your dentist.