DENTAL PROGRAM

Baby bottle Tooth Decay How to get your kids to brush Links



What is baby bottle tooth decay?

Decay in infants and children is called baby bottle tooth decay. It can destroy the teeth and most often occurs in the upper front teeth. But other teeth may also be affected.


Mild Dental Decay

Moderate Dental
                                                Decay

Severe Dental
                                                Decay

Mild Decay

Moderate Decay

Severe Decay

As soon as a baby's first teeth appear—usually by age six months or so—the child is susceptible to decay. This condition is often referred to as Baby Bottle Tooth Decay or Early Childhood Caries (cavities). In some unfortunate cases, infants and toddlers have experienced severe tooth decay that has resulted in dental restorations or extractions. The good news is that decay is preventable.

What causes baby bottle tooth decay?

Decay occurs when sweetened liquids are given and are left clinging to an infant's teeth for long periods. Many sweet liquids cause problems, including milk, formula and fruit juice. Bacteria in the mouth use these sugars as food. They then produce acids that attack the teeth. Each time your child drinks these liquids, acids attack for 20 minutes or longer. After many attacks, the teeth can decay.

It's not just what you put in your child's bottle that causes decay, but how often — and for how long a time. Giving your child a bottle of sweetened liquid many times a day isn't a good idea. Allowing your child to fall asleep with a bottle during naps or at night can also harm the child's teeth.

Why are baby teeth important?

Your child's baby teeth are important. Children need strong, healthy teeth to chew their food, speak and have a good-looking smile. Baby teeth also keep a space in the jaw for the adult teeth. If a baby tooth is lost too early, the teeth beside it may drift into the empty space. When it's time for the adult teeth to come in, there may not be enough room. This can make the teeth crooked or crowded.

 

How can baby bottle tooth decay be prevented?

Sometimes parents do not realize that a baby's teeth can decay soon after they appear in the mouth. By the time decay is noticed, it may be too late to save the teeth. You can help prevent this from happening to your child by following the tips below:

  1. After each feeding, wipe the baby's gums with a clean gauze pad. Begin brushing your child's teeth when the first tooth erupts. Clean and massage gums in areas that remain toothless, and begin flossing when all the baby teeth have erupted, usually by age 2 or 2½.
  2. Never allow your child to fall asleep with a bottle containing milk, formula, fruit juice or sweetened liquids.
  3. If your child needs a comforter between regular feedings, at night, or during naps, give the child a clean pacifier recommended by your dentist or physician. Never give your child a pacifier dipped in any sweet liquid.
  4. Avoid filling your child's bottle with liquids such as sugar water and soft drinks.
  5. If your local water supply does not contain fluoride (a substance that helps prevent tooth decay), ask your dentist how your child should get it.
  6. Start dental visits early; check with your doctor. Make visits regularly. If you think your child has dental problems, take the child to the dentist as soon as possible.
FOR MORE INFORMATION GO TO:  www.ada.org/public

 


Child Getting Your Child
                                              To Brush

Teaching your child to brush is a task that many parents have dreaded at one time or another. Having your child brush, however, is extremely important because it establishes good oral habits that last a lifetime.

Start Early

The key to establishing good brushing habits is starting an oral care program early . In fact, the American Dental Association suggests that you begin cleaning your baby's mouth the first few days after birth.

After each meal take a wet washcloth and wipe your baby's gums. This accomplishes three things:

It removes plaque that accumulates on the gums.
Plaque is a sticky substance containing mucus, food debris, and bacteria. Removing plaque prevents bacteria from building up on your child's gums.

It gets your child accustomed to having a clean, plaque-free mouth.
When your child is accustomed to a clean, plaque-free mouth, they will usually take steps, including brushing, to keep this clean feeling.

It gets your child accustomed to you "meddling" in their mouth.
When your child becomes accustomed to you "meddling" in their mouth, it becomes easier for you to brush their teeth later. It also makes it easier for the dentist to examine and work in their mouths at a later date.

The First Baby Teeth

The baby's first teeth appear, on average, about six months after birth. Parents may notice excessive salivation and the child may become irritable while these first teeth are coming in.

When teeth appear, use a cotton swab daily to gently wipe the teeth and remove plaque. If your child has not grown up tolerating you "meddling in their mouth" you may have a much tougher problem. If your child is two years of age and their teeth have not been brushed and inspected by you, in all probability, plaque has not been sufficiently removed.

Brushing Your Child's Teeth

Despite the protests and the fight your child may give you, it is extremely important that you brush their teeth.

Parents, in fact, are responsible for making sure their children's teeth are clean until the child reaches five to six years of age ! This is because, on average, younger children do not have the manual dexterity required to brush teeth effectively.

Why should you go to great lengths to brush your child's teeth ? The most important reason is that tooth decay occurs faster in children than in adults. By brushing your child's teeth, you remove the plaque bacteria which are responsible for this tooth decay.

Another reason to help your child learn to brush is that this helps them develop a crucial habit which will last a lifetime.

Make It Fun !

The key to getting your child to brush is to make it fun. Start your program today and look for fun ways to engage your children in the activity. Make it seem as if if brushing is a fun thing to do rather than a chore which must be done.

One method that is fun and effective is allowing your children to brush your teeth. You should laugh a lot and make it a fun activity. Then allow them to "brush" their own teeth. Finish by brushing your child's teeth.You may want to include older siblings in the activity.

Alternatively, have your child brush their favorite doll's teeth before you brush theirs. Remember always allow them to "brush" their own teeth and then follow up by brushing their teeth correctly.

Use only a pea-size amount of toothpaste on their toothbrush as larger amounts tend to create excessive foam making it more difficult for your child to brush.

Make sure that your child gets in the habit of spitting out the toothpaste. Swallowing toothpaste on a consistent basis can lead to a condition known as fluorosis, in which spots may appear on your child's teeth.

Be careful of the toothpaste you use. Almost all toothpastes contain harsh flavorings that adults barely notice, but that can sting young mouths. This is one of the reasons children do not like to brush. A safe toothpaste alternative for kids is Enamel Saver Toothpaste for Kids

If your child still refuses to engage in these tooth brushing games, make tooth brushing appear as a fun activity they are missing out on. Have mom and dad go up to the bathroom eager to brush. Laugh a lot and make a lot of noise. Soon your child will realize that they are missing out on something fun and will want to join in.

Your enthusiasm is contagious ! If you are enthusiastic about the activity, your children will be enthusiastic. Children are great emulators. They tend to want to do the things that their parents do. If your children see you brushing your teeth and displaying good dental habits, they will follow.



Links:

Enamel Saver Toothpaste for Kids

American Dental Association 

 

 

 

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