Several specific types of bacteria that live on the teeth cause decay. When sugar is consumed, the bacteria use the sugar and then manufacture acids that dissolve the teeth and cause decay.
What Is Early Childhood Tooth Decay?
Babies who go to bed with a bottle of milk, formula, or juice are more likely to get tooth decay. Because the sugar in formula, milk, or juice stays in contact with the teeth for a long time during the night, the teeth can decay quickly.
Some Tips To Avoid Early Childhood Tooth Decay
- Put your child to bed with a bottle of plain water, not milk or juice.
- Try not to let your child walk around using a bottle or sippy cup with milk or juice as a pacifier.
- Start to teach your child to drink from a cup early. Plan to stop using a bottle by 12 to 14 months at the latest.
- Don’t dip your child’s pacifier in honey or sugar.
- Don’t give your baby any sort of sweetened liquids such as flavored drinks or soda.
First Visit to the Dentist
It’s recommended that you bring your baby in for a visit within six months of the first tooth’s eruption – usually around his or her first birthday. Since decay can occur in even the smallest of teeth, the earlier your baby visits us, the more likely he or she is to avoid problems. We’ll look for any signs of early problems with your baby’s oral heath, and check in with you about the best way to care for your little one’s teeth. Remember that preparing for each dental visit with a positive attitude goes a long way toward making your child comfortable with regular checkups.
Parents Set the Example
As part of the natural learning process, little ones are expert mimics, and you can take advantage of this talent. Brush and floss daily while your child is watching, and he or she will intuit at an early age the importance of your good habits. As soon as your child shows interest, offer a toothbrush of his or her own and encourage your toddler to “brush” with you. (You’ll find toothbrushes with chunky, short handles that are easy to grip.)
Most children don’t have the dexterity necessary to thoroughly clean their own teeth until they’re about seven or eight, so you’ll have to do that part of the job. Try different tactics to make brushing fun: flavored toothpaste, a toothbrush with a favorite character on it, or singing songs about brushing. The primary goal is to instill healthy oral habits at an early age to set your child up for a lifetime of healthy, cavity-free teeth!