Every child needs strong, healthy baby teeth. These teeth help children chew food, form words, and even help guide future adult teeth into their correct positions in the arch. Early childhood caries is a highly aggressive form of tooth decay that affects children well into their preschool years. The decay is usually the result of consuming large amounts of sugary food. The sugar serves as food for bacteria, which in turn produce acid that decay the teeth.
So you may be wondering how you can protect your child from early childhood decay. It’s actually quite simple. Avoiding sugar may seem like the obvious answer, but we have to be realistic. Occasional treats are okay and shouldn’t be discouraged. Did you know that dark chocolate is actually good for your overall dental health? However, what needs to be taken into consideration are the consistency of the food and how long the sugary substance was consumed. For example, a hard candy that dissolves in your mouth is a better choice than a sticky caramel which is difficult to chew and may remain stuck in the crevices of your child’s teeth. In reference to duration, consider whether the food was consumed in a matter of minutes or was it something that the child slowly sipped on throughout the evening, like a juice or soda. By slowly sipping the sugary drink, your child is exposed to a continuous stream of sugar, resulting in a good environment for the growth of bacteria. To avoid this, don’t let your child walk around with a bottle or a sippy cup of juice. Try and appease your child with a pacifier.
We recommend that you brush your child’s teeth after every feeding, even if they don’t actually have any teeth at the moment. You can do so by gently wiping the gums with a wet gauze or wash cloth wrapped around your index finger. When teeth do start erupting; use a tiny amount of fluoridated toothpaste to gently wipe the teeth.
Finally, keep in mind that dental checkups are just as important for your child as they are for you! Contact our office today to learn more about childhood tooth decay and to set up your appointment. Make sure you schedule your child’s visit by the time their first tooth erupts. Early dental care is important in maintaining a healthy smile and serves as the stepping stones for a great relationship with your dental team!