Posted on: 22 August 2017
Many parents don't pay much attention to their babies' oral health because they just assume that the baby's milk teeth will fall out, and then they can begin to worry. However, childhood dental practices set the ball rolling for lifelong dental health, considering that the child's milk teeth serve as guides for the growth of permanent teeth. This article discusses a few things that parents of babies and toddlers do which can actually set them up for childhood tooth decay.
1. Ignoring the first dental visit
Dentists recommend scheduling the child's first dental visit between 6 and 12 months of age, soon after the appearance of the first teeth. This sets the stage for preventive intervention to protect the child from early childhood caries (ECC) which affects a whopping 40 percent of children.
During this visit, the child's teeth are examined comprehensively, and the dentist will recommend interventions to ensure oral health is maintained. Here, the child's decay risk is assessed, the parent is trained to properly clean the child's teeth, and nutritional counselling is provided as well as advice on fluoride in oral products. Underlying conditions that may present a problem are unearthed and a dental regimen is determined for the child according to the state of their teeth.
2. Feeding through the night
Bottle-feeding through the night, while convenient for the parent or caregiver, can set the child up for Baby Bottle Tooth Decay (BBTD). Giving the baby a sleep-time bottle with a liquid that has natural or added sugars sets the baby up for decay in the second year of life. This is because the sugars create a substrate which oral bacteria feed on to produce acid that demineralizes the tooth enamel to cause caries and cavities.
ECC progresses rapidly in children because their teeth are much thinner. What most mums don't know is that allowing the child to breastfeed at will throughout the night has the same effect on teeth, because of sugars present in breastmilk.
3. Feeding through the day
Feeding a child on sugar-rich foods and drinks during the day can also escalate tooth decay. While wholesome foods such as cereals, natural juices and fruits are much better snacking options, it is important to remember that, to oral bacteria, these sugars/carbohydrates are just sugars, and will be metabolized the same way to form acid.
Therefore, parents are advised to control the level of snacking in children, particularly on high-sugar foods. Over-snacking interferes with the mouth's best cavity-fighter, saliva. Saliva supplies fluoride and calcium in small amounts and can help to reverse the effects of acid produced by oral bacteria. However, this process takes some time, which is why round-the-clock snacking is discouraged. Along with over-snacking includes practices like dipping pacifiers in sugar/sugary drinks and supplying to the baby throughout the day.
For more information, reach out to a dentist at offices like Care Dental.Share