Most parents will do all they can to keep their children safe and cared for. That means regular visits to the doctor, good healthy meals, education and of course regular visits to the dentist! The first exposure that your child will have with oral hygiene is at home. It should begin well before your child can brush their own teeth. The care provider should do some oral cleaning at home and get them to a pediatric dentist when teeth start to appear. With that being said there are some things that you might be doing that could be causing your child to be at a higher risk for tooth decay and cavities.
Smile Reef Explains Baby Bottle Tooth Decay & How to Prevent it
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay: Of course your baby needs to have access to hydrating drinks. Mothers will use a bottle to feed their small children and babies but there are some things that you might be doing that could increase the child’s risk for cavities. If you are giving your child sugary drinks in their bottle and allowing them access to it throughout the day the child will have a larger chance of developing cavities. Small children and babies don’t take a sip and go about their day they will suck on the bottle for some time and even allow the drink to stay in their mouth. This amount of sugar will start to stick to their teeth and eventually decay their teeth.
Signs Of Tooth Decay: The signs of tooth decay in an older child or an adult are different than a baby that has baby bottle tooth decay. If you have concerns that your baby has baby bottle tooth decay you can look for small white spots on their gums. They may also appear on their teeth which is a very early sign that tooth decay has commenced. If the decay has gotten worse, the dark brown discolorations will start to appear. The baby may also start to be restless and show signs of not feeling well. They may even have swollen areas on their gums and around their teeth.
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay Treatment: Infants under the age of 6 months do not need a bottle when they lay down as they get all the nutrients they need from breast milk or formula. Older children may like the bottle more as a comfort and water is the best option. Any other drink will sit on their gums and teeth until they are awake the next morning. You also will need to take on the role of oral hygiene for the child. They are often too small to hold their toothbrush and do a good job. After the child has had a bottle you want to be sure that you take time to clean their mouth out and remove as much of the acidic and sugary substances that may be left behind.
Dentists for Infants & Older Children
Smile Reef offers pediatric dentistry to help control and treat tooth decay from baby bottles and other causes. Contact us to schedule your next appointment today!
What is a cavity? Cavities, also called dental caries are holes in teeth that can get bigger and deeper over time. These holes are caused by tooth decay which originates from plaque. Plaque is a colorless, sticky film of bacteria that is constantly forming on your teeth and is the main cause of tooth decay. The bacteria in plaque reacts with sugar in the foods we eat and the beverages we drink. Then acids are produced and will attack and weaken the enamel of our teeth. This is something we don’t want because the enamel of our teeth is the hard, protective coating. When enamel breaks down, teeth are left unprotected, making it easier for cavities to develop. We need to brush and floss every day to remove plaque. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that tooth decay is the most preventable chronic disease in children. Toddler tooth decay should be on every parents radar because 42% of children ages 2 to 11 develop a cavity in their primary teeth according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.
Where Can Cavities Form on Teeth?
1. Biting surface of teeth. The grooves and crevices on the top of our teeth can trap plaque and are more prone to decay in children because they haven’t mastered brushing techniques yet.
2. Between teeth. The areas between the teeth can be hard to reach and are difficult for toothbrushes to get to. These areas need to be flossed to prevent plaque buildup.
3. On root surfaces of teeth. These areas are more often affected in those who have suffered gum recession or bone loss. This area is also more susceptible in older people. Plaque left on exposed teeth can develop into cavities because the roots of teeth don’t have enamel protection.
Ways to Reverse Tooth Decay & Prevent Dental Cavities
1. Start brushing teeth early. Start rubbing your baby’s gums with gauze early on and when teeth start to appear, you can use a baby toothbrush and water to clean your baby’s teeth. As they get older you can get larger toothbrushes but help them until they are 8 to 10 years old as they don’t have the coordination to do it themselves until then. Start getting in the habit of flossing when your child’s teeth start to touch and monitor them until they have the hang of it.
2. Early dental visits. It’s recommended that your child starts making trips to the dentist when they are a year old. This gets them used to seeing the dentist and the dentist will be able to monitor the growth and development of their teeth.
3. Healthy snacks & drinks. To prevent the bacteria from food and drinks attacking teeth, it’s good to have your children enjoy snacks and drinks with as little sugar as possible.
4. Get enough fluoride. Fluoride is a mineral that will help strengthen the enamel of the teeth and helps make them more resistant to decay. Talk with your dentist to make sure your child is getting enough.
5. Dental sealants. Think of sealants as little protective coats for your teeth. Sealants are clear barriers that are applied to the top of teeth for protection from decay.
Scheduling regular visits to the dentist throughout your child’s life is very important in preventing dental problems. Contact Smile Reef to make appointment to have their teeth examined today!