Reduce Early Tooth Decay in Children’s Teeth
Tooth decay is weakened or damaged areas of the hard, outer surface of the tooth, the enamel. Also known as dental caries, tooth decay is one of the most common chronic oral conditions among children of all ages. Tooth decay may start with weakened enamel but can lead to full-blown cavities and damage the tooth to the point that a tooth is deemed hopeless and must be extracted. When we eat or drink, naturally occurring bacteria in the mouth feed on the sugars we ingest to create an acid byproduct that can attack and weaken the tooth enamel if not cleaned properly and regularly with good oral hygiene.
Dental cavities cannot be reversed but they can be treated. It is important to proceed with treatment even in baby teeth because tooth decay can spread from one tooth to another and from baby teeth to adult teeth. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce early-stage tooth decay in your toddler such as good oral hygiene, using fluoride products, and regular visits to their Pediatric Dentist.
How can I prevent tooth decay?
The best way to prevent tooth decay is through good oral hygiene, a healthy diet limiting sugary foods and beverages, and regular visits to the dentist. For toddlers, parents can protect their teeth by keeping to a balanced diet with nutritious meals that include all major food groups. Keeping sugary foods and beverages to a minimum will provide less fuel for decay-causing bacteria.
Visiting the dentist regularly will ensure that your teeth are professionally cleaned and any problems are caught as soon as possible.
How can I reduce tooth decay in my toddler?
One of the best ways to help reduce early tooth decay is by consulting your child's pediatric dentist to make sure you have the tools and techniques necessary to properly clean your child's teeth. Other ways to help reduce tooth decay in toddlers include:
Teach good oral hygiene habits: Instilling good habits early will help your child understand the importance of cleaning their teeth at least twice a day and after meals. Ask your pediatric dentist how to properly brush and floss your babies teeth and as they grow, show them how to clean all surfaces of their teeth.
Use fluoride: Fluoride is a great way to help prevent early tooth decay in children and can even reverse early stages of tooth decay. Fluoride can help strengthen and remineralize tooth enamel and keeps bacteria in the mouth from producing enamel-eating acids.
Dental sealants: Dental sealants are another way to reduce your toddlers risk of tooth decay. A sealant is a protective, plastic coating which is applied to the teeth in liquid form and then hardened into a hard, clear plastic on the chewing surface of the molars. Sealants are really beneficial in protecting the posterior teeth which can easily trap food and bacteria in the grooves and fissures on their surface.
Regular dental visits: Taking your toddler to the dentist for their first professional dental cleanings is recommended by the age of 1. Instilling good habits as early as possible can give your child a better chance of carrying these good habits with them into adulthood. Even though proper oral hygiene at home is important, regular professional dental cleanings and dental exams are vital to your child’s oral health. Dental exams can catch tooth decay before it progresses.
Tooth decay can lead not only to oral health issues but two problems with a patient's overall health. It is important to teach your toddler good oral hygiene habits and demonstrate the importance of visiting the dentist regularly so they will have a healthy, beautiful smile for years to come!