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Preventing Tooth Decay in Children

Sep 11, 2014 - 08:09 AM EST |  Posted under: General, Pediatric Dentistry
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Healthy baby teeth ensure that your child can chew food and speak properly; they also act as placeholders for permanent teeth. According to pediatric dentists, early tooth decay in children most often affects the upper and lower front teeth. If these incisors are lost due to unchecked tooth decay, your child’s overall oral health can be at risk, so cavity prevention is of the utmost importance.

What Causes Early Tooth Decay?

When your child consumes foods and beverages with high sugar or starch content, the sugar feeds oral bacteria. When the bacteria produce acids that attack the surfaces of teeth, cavities develop. Although it’s tempting to blame sugary snacks, many of the liquids your child sips throughout the day such as milk, formula, and natural juices contain sugars. If you let your child walk around with a sippy cup or sleep with a bottle, their teeth are exposed to sugar for longer periods of time, and this can accelerate tooth decay.

Preventing Tooth Decay in Children

Preventing tooth decay in children starts with monitoring their diets. Here are a few tips:

  • Avoid giving bottles or sippy cups filled with soft drinks, punch, or juice.
  • Don’t dip pacifiers in honey or syrup, and avoid prolonged use.
  • Put your child to bed with a bottle of plain water only.
  • Attempt to stop bottle use by the age of 12 to 14 months.
  • Limit daily juice consumption to six ounces during mealtimes.

Cavity Prevention Through Good Oral Care

Pediatric dentists recommend wiping your baby’s gums with a clean cloth after each feeding and starting a brushing routine as soon as your child has teeth. When all primary teeth have erupted, add flossing to the routine. Begin scheduling routine dental visits by the age of two.

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