Your baby’s teeth perform an important function. Not only do they allow your child to eat, they maintain proper spacing in the mouth for those adult teeth to come in. If baby teeth experience decay or fall out too quickly, the remaining teeth can shift. This creates problems when the adult teeth emerge. Find out the best ways to prevent tooth decay in baby teeth.
Causes of Tooth Decay in Babies
Tooth decay develops when a baby’s mouth has a buildup of bacteria. While you might remove this by brushing teeth, you are not supposed to brush a child’s gums or teeth if they are less than one year old. Keep a baby’s teeth clean by wiping the gums with a washcloth. When teeth do emerge, brush them gently using fluoride toothpaste and a soft brush designed for children.
Bacteria most frequently builds up on baby teeth when babies drink from bottles or sippy cups, because the design of these cops bathes the teeth in natural sugars from juice or formula.
How to Prevent Baby Teeth Decay
Now that you understand why baby teeth can develop decay, how do you prevent it?
One, keep your child from having too much juice or other sugary treats. When you control the amount of sugar your child eats and drinks, you will automatically reduce the amount of bacteria that builds up in the mouth.
Encourage your child to drink water when they are thirsty, rather than juice.
Some parents get into the habit of giving their child a sippy cup whenever they are distressed, almost like a pacifier. Avoid encouraging self soothing with the sippy cup as they will want to suck on it for long periods of time, consuming natural sugars and developing bacteria. Do not give your child a bottle at night, as this encourages a buildup of bacteria throughout the night.
When your child is around one year old, begin to train them in how to drink from a regular cup rather than a sippy cup. When they drink from a regular cup they will not be able to suck on it to soothe themselves. Regular cups do not gather liquids around the teeth, either, so the amount of time that sugars are in contact with the teeth are reduced.
By the time children reach 12 months, through the age of 36 months, you should be brushing their teeth twice a day using fluoride toothpaste.
Take your child to the dentist early, before they reach one year old. Your dentist can make sure the child’s teeth are developing well, check for signs of decay, and answer any questions you have regarding the proper care of your child’s teeth and gums.
Make an Appointment for Pediatric Dentistry
Weninger Dentistry accepts patients of all ages, including children. Our pediatric dentistry services in Tampa are designed to be gentle, effective, and safe for little ones. To make your child’s first dental appointment, contact us today.