Child tooth decay has been on the rise since the early 1990’s. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 42% of children between the ages of 2 through 11, have had tooth decay in their primary teeth. Even worse 23% of children of that age group have untreated tooth decay. This day in age more than ever, children are exposed to high sugar snacks and drinks that are causing a decline in oral health. What can you do as a parent or caregiver to prevent your children from following this trend?
Child tooth decay prevention
The key to paving the way for your children to curb tooth decay starts right after birth. Babies are at extreme risk for tooth decay as formula and breast milk are full of sugar. Here are a few tips to help reduce the effects these high sugar liquids can have on your baby’s teeth.
- NEVER fill your child’s bottle with liquids that are rich in sugar
- NEVER put your child to bed with milk or juice
- Once your child has fallen asleep take the bottle out of their mouth, or stop nursing
- Limit you baby to 6 ounces or less of juice per day
- Gently wipe the inside of your child’s mouth with a soft washcloth after each meal
Oral Care guidelines
Once your child starts to develop teeth follow these oral care guidelines to ensure your children’s teeth stay healthy!
- Start brushing your child’s teeth as soon as they start to come in
- Begin flossing their teeth once all of their baby teeth have come through
- Use a non-fluoridated toothpaste to start until you can assure your child will not swallow it
- Inspect your kids teeth regularly and schedule their first dental visit between ages 2 & 3
Upon Inspection of your child’s teeth if you notice any of the following, make sure you take your child to the dentist right away!
- White or chalky spots on the teeth
- Complaints of pain or sensitivity in the teeth
- Bad Breath
- Bad taste in the mouth
- Brown or black spots on the teeth
Treatment of tooth decay
For most children treatment involves removing the damaged tooth material and then filling the tooth with a dental compound. In more severe cases if the nerve has been infected a root canal may be necessary to restore the tooth.
If this sounds unpleasant, it is! This is why it is so important to keep good oral hygiene habits for your child! Avoid filling their diet with sugary foods and drinks that are a breeding ground for tooth decay. Routine dental visits 2 per year will help keep your child healthy and build good oral hygiene habits for life!
As always, thank you for being part of our practice family!