Even though they’re not permanent, it’s essential to do everything you can to protect your baby’s from childhood tooth decay. Otherwise, your child could be susceptible to a whole host of medical issues later on.
Let’s take a look at the consequences, the causes, the symptoms, and how to prevent early childhood tooth decay.
What Are The Consequences Of Early Childhood Tooth Decay?
If a baby were to lose its tooth from decay, this can cause their other teeth to move over into the empty space. In this situation, their adult teeth may sprout incorrectly and become permanently misaligned. Furthermore, early childhood tooth decay is painful and can result in potentially life-threatening infections.
What Causes Early Childhood Tooth Decay?
On the whole, early childhood tooth decay is caused by one of two things: saliva and sugar.
Parents can inadvertently pass saliva on to a baby’s mouth by sharing cups or cutlery, cleaning a pacifier with their mouth, or tasting their food. This external saliva ends up infecting them with acid-producing bacteria, which ultimately causes tooth decay.
Decay can also be the result of excessive exposure to any sort of sugary liquid including milk, baby formula, juice, and soft drink. The natural bacteria in a baby’s mouth converts the sugar into acid which corrodes the outer layer of the tooth.
How Can You Diagnose Early Childhood Tooth Decay?
Parents can examine their baby’s teeth for decay by looking for little white spots on their teeth or gums. However, bear in mind that these can be difficult to spot at first so it may be necessary to enlist the help of a dentist.
How Can You Prevent Early Childhood Tooth Decay?
Take the following strategies into account to prevent your baby from suffering from tooth decay.
- Opt to breastfeed rather than bottle feed, if practical.
- Adopt a rigorous dental hygiene routine for your baby:
- Up to 12 months: gently wipe their gums. Once their first teeth have appeared, brush them softly with a baby toothbrush and toothpaste each day.
- 12 to 36 months: Brush your baby’s teeth twice a day, once after breakfast and again at bedtime.
- Avoid letting your baby sleep with a bottle, a Sippy cup, or any kind of food.
- Never replace a pacifier with a bottle or Sippy cup. Only provide plain water if your child needs something to drink during the day.
- Only allow your baby to consume sugary drinks at mealtimes, or not at all.
- Provide your baby with fluoridated Check that the water your baby drinks has fluoride in it, as is common in most tap water. If not, your baby may need to take fluoride tablets.
- Teach your baby to clean food off their teeth using their tongue
- Never feed your baby sweets or sugary foods as snacks. Only allow them to consume sugar at meal times, if at all.
- Schedule an appointment with a dentist before they turn one!
Early childhood tooth decay can have severe consequences on your baby. However, by taking the above tips into consideration, you’ll be able to prevent this common ailment from occurring.