Many parents are surprised to learn that tooth decay is the most common chronic infectious disease in children. But parents can protect their child’s dental health by knowing the causes, signs, and ways to prevent the danger of decay.
The Trouble of Tooth Decay for Children
Tooth decay can strike children from a very early age. It sometimes appears as tiny white spots on the child’s upper front teeth at the gum line, but these spots can be difficult for parents to see and can only be properly detected by a pediatric dentist. That’s why parents need to take care of their child’s dental health from a very early age and regularly take their baby to see a pediatric dentist in Florida, Maryland and Virginia.
Common Causes of Tooth Decay in Babies
Babies can develop tooth decay in a number of different ways. The most common reason is prolonged dental exposure to sugary foods and drinks for extended periods of time during the day, as well as when a child is put to bed with a bottle of sugary formula, milk, or juice. In addition, tooth decay can emerge when a baby’s mouth becomes infected by acid-producing bacteria or bacteria-filled saliva passed from a parent or caregiver.
Ways to Protect Your Baby from Tooth Decay
Children of all ages run an enormous risk of tooth decay, but there are many ways for parents to help prevent the problem. Try these simple tips to keep your child’s smile safe from decay:
- Take care of your personal oral health even before your baby is born to avoid transmitting dental problems during pregnancy.
- Before their first birthday, clean your baby’s mouth and gums with a clean baby washcloth in the morning, at bedtime, and after meals.
- When the first teeth emerge, gently brush them with a soft-bristled baby toothbrush and a tiny dollop of toothpaste.
- Schedule an appointment with a pediatric dentist in Florida, Maryland and Virginia for a dental exam for your child no later than their first birthday.
- Between ages one and three, brush your child’s teeth twice a day for two minutes each time, preferably after breakfast and before bed.
- Don’t let your baby go to bed with a bottle or food, since this exposes their teeth to sugars and puts them at risk for choking.
- If your child demands a bottle or sippy cup for lengthy periods, only fill it with water.
- Limit the amount of sugary, starchy, and sticky foods the child eats to meal times.
- Only serve juice with meals—or not at all. Ask your pediatric dentist how much juice your child can have each day.
Call us at to set up your appointment today.