Minimizing tooth decay for your child is important to our dentist and entire team at Bertagnolli Dental. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 17.5% of children in the US aged 5-19 have untreated dental cavities. Tooth decay can begin within a few weeks of the first baby teeth appearing, so you can't start too early when it comes to your child. In fact, you can actually give them an advantage by instilling good dental hygiene habits, providing a healthy diet from the very start and making sure they receive regular care from your local experts in pediatric dentistry.
Once your baby's first teeth appear, it is time to start a healthy oral hygiene routine with them. You can effectively clean their mouth in the beginning by wiping a damp cloth over their teeth and gums. Do this at least twice per day. The principle behind cleaning teeth is the same for adults, children, and babies. You don't want to allow food particles to sit on the surface of teeth for too long, or bacteria will start to feed on these particles and produce corrosive acid that decays teeth.
By your child's first birthday, you should start brushing baby teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush. You should also schedule their first dental check-up before their first birthday. Your dentist will check the development of their baby teeth and identify any potential issues before they cause problems.
They will also demonstrate the best way to brush your child's teeth at this stage and recommend the correct amounts of toothpaste and fluoride to use.
Continue bringing your child for a check-up every six months after this point. Children's teeth grow and change surprisingly quickly, so it is important for your dentist to have a regular opportunity to catch any signs of decay and take preventative measures if needed.
The other critical factor affecting your child's oral health is their diet. Acidic juices and sugary drinks are the biggest culprits in causing early childhood tooth decay. Bottles and sippy cups allow your child to drink very slowly and create maximum contact of the liquid to your child's mouth. Try to limit the time your child has access to juice or milk in a bottle and clean their teeth after each mealtime. Avoid putting your baby down to sleep with a bottle of milk or juice. Switching to warm water can give them the same comfort factor without being a threat to their teeth.
As your child grows, keep encouraging a healthy diet with limited access to sugary snack foods and acidic or sugary drinks. Give your child a good example to follow by not snacking on sweets throughout the day. As they become more independent, continue to monitor their oral hygiene routine. As soon as their teeth touch each other, you can introduce floss. Remember to ensure they visit a dentist every six months, hence minimizing tooth decay for your child. Be sure to call us at Bertagnolli Dental to schedule an appointment or simply talk about your child's dental health.