Many new and expecting parents tend to underestimate the significance of having their children receive proper dental treatment from an early age. Baby teeth and the dental hygiene habits you instill in your children from an early age, play an integral role in setting the precedence for a lifetime of good oral health. The first step is to educate yourself about the different reasons for tooth decay that can occur in infancy as well as how to prevent and treat them.
Types of Childhood Tooth Decay Problems
As with everything, knowledge is your best friend when learning about the nuances of caring for your baby’s oral health. Your dentist should be able to cover all bases in terms of providing all of the vital information you need. Regular dental treatment including checkups and cleanings, are all important aspects of ensuring the oral health of your baby. Regardless, sometimes children may still develop tooth decay and require treatment for it. Here are the different reasons for childhood tooth decay that parents should be aware of:
Tooth Decay in Baby Teeth
One of the worst things you can possibly do while your baby’s teeth are still developing is give them sugary substances. Anything that contains a high concentration of refined sugars such as fruit juices and even some baby foods can create an ideal breeding ground for harmful bacteria within your baby’s oral cavity. Eventually these bacteria will start to wear down their newly developed teeth and weaken their internal and external structures. It’s best to help your children form healthy habits from the very beginning of their lives and encourage them to eat whole organic foods with as little refined sugar as possible to promote good oral health.
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Baby bottles should be properly washed and disinfected as often as possible. The residue that forms from a mixture of your baby’s saliva and the substances they’re consuming can build up on the nipple and make them very sick. Never allow your baby to fall asleep with a bottle in their mouths as the sugars from the formula or breast milk will stick to their teeth and eventually infiltrate their gums over time, causing potentially severe tooth decay.
Breastfeeding Baby Tooth Decay
By about 12 months you should start the process of weaning your baby off of the bottle and teaching them how to use cups. At this stage of their development, their motor skills should be strong enough to be able to hold and drink from a cup on their own. All they need is a little bit of encouragement. While there’s no concrete direct link between breastfeeding for too long and tooth decay in infants, it’s certainly true that without proper oral care practices being administered from an early age, children are far more likely to develop cavities. New mothers should make sure to properly clean their baby’s teeth after every breastfeeding session.
Early Childhood Caries
Early Childhood Caries (ECC) is essentially the standard medical term for childhood cavities. The main cause of this extremely common phenomenon is overexposure to an abundance of sugar. Between sugary snacks, highly concentrated fruit juices, milk, and other sweetened substances that are usually targeted at children, many kids don’t really stand much of a chance against the perils of refined sugars. The fact is that they’re pretty much everywhere and they’re extremely difficult to avoid. Parents need to be extra cautious at all times when preparing healthy and balanced meals for their kids. Even fruits and vegetables can have high concentrations of sugar, so be weary of what you’re feeding your kids and make sure you teach them proper brushing and flossing techniques from an early age.
Tooth Decay in Toddlers’ Front Teeth
Dental caries, also known as cavities, can develop in any part of the mouth. No matter where they start out, it’s always important to seek out prominent and thorough tooth decay treatment from a reputable dentist in your area as soon as possible. If left untreated for too long the bacteria that cause cavities can spread from one area of the mouth to another and infect a plethora of other teeth. Early prevention is much easier than treatment, so the moment you notice your child’s gums are bleeding or that they’re complaining of tooth sensitivity, take them to the dentist immediately.
Dental injuries can occur at any time of the day or night. At a very young age, children are often curious, especially when they’re still in the midst of developing their motor skills. This is a crucial age when a lot of dental injuries or traumas are more likely to occur as children learn to explore their surroundings and physical limitations. In the event of a dental injury, you should take your child to the dentist immediately for treatment and to avoid infection from occurring.
Early Signs of Tooth Decay in Toddlers
The signs and symptoms affiliated with tooth decay in toddlers are almost identical to those that adults experience. Brown or blackened teeth, inflammation and redness in the gums, bleeding gums, fever, pain, irritability, and chronic halitosis are all signs of potential infection and tooth decay. Unfortunately, your baby won’t be able to communicate any discomfort or pain they may be feeling during the teething process, so it’s up to you as the parent to pay attention to everything they’re going through.
When Should You Take Your Child to the Dentist?
The simple answer is that you should take your child to the dentist any time you notice abnormalities in their dental development. All of the abovementioned symptoms are considered abnormal and should be treated post haste before they have the opportunity to worsen. Even when you are not aware of any concerns your child should start seeing the dentist as soon as the first tooth appears.
Princeview Dental Group administers all kinds of dental treatments including early childhood tooth decay, in addition to standard checkups and cleanings. We cater to a wide range of patients with a variety of dental issues from young children to the elderly. Conveniently located in the heart of The Kingsway neighbourhood in Etobicoke, we welcome you to our practice. To book an appointment, please feel free to contact us today!