Tooth decay affects people of all ages, from seniors to children. Even toddlers can experience decay in their baby teeth, which is often a shocking discovery for their parents. Though the signs of deterioration should be a cause for concern, they can be prevented if you know what to look for and instill good oral health habits early on. Keep reading to discover the top three factors that can lead to tooth decay in children.
Sugar (and more specifically, sugary beverages) is one of the biggest leading causes of tooth decay in people of all ages. However, sugary drinks pose an especially troubling problem for toddlers because of bottles and sippy cups. Though these cups may be convenient, many parents leave them with their children nearly all the time. And while this may seem like an excellent method of pacifying an active toddler, it also opens them to harmful sugar for long periods. Mouths dry out while sleeping, which means anything your child ingests before bedtime will be more likely to stick to their teeth, and their chances of developing decay increase. This phenomenon is also known as bottle rot. To avoid overexposing your child’s teeth to sugar, fill their bottles and sippy cups with water or milk. Also, try not to give them a bottle when putting them down to sleep. If you do need to provide them with a bottle before a nap or bedtime, make sure it is full of water, not juice.
Eating and drinking sugar isn’t the only way tooth decay can form. The bacteria that initiates tooth decay can also be passed along through saliva. If you or anyone who comes in contact with your child has these bacteria, they can easily be transmitted to your baby. This can happen by sharing utensils, drinking from the same cup, or using your mouth to clean off a baby’s pacifier. To avoid spreading bacteria, refrain from doing the activities mentioned above or anything else that involves passing saliva from your mouth to theirs. Additionally, try to stop your child from sucking on or putting objects that are not designed for teething purposes in their mouth. You never know where those items have been or if any other children have gotten their saliva on them recently.
Improper Oral Health Care
The best way to avoid tooth decay is by instilling good oral health habits early on in life. Implement a regular cleaning routine starting at a young age. Even before their first tooth grows in, clean the infant’s gums with a washcloth after they eat. Once their first tooth appears, you can begin gently brushing their teeth with a baby toothbrush and water. You should also schedule their first appointment for family dental care in Carmichael, CA, within six months of their first tooth appearing. Once your toddler turns two years old, you can start brushing their teeth twice daily using fluoride toothpaste. By instilling oral health values early, you can create habits that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.
If you believe your child is showing the signs of tooth decay or you want to schedule a dental appointment, contact us at Now Dental today!