Tooth Fairy NewsFebruary 21, 2019
There is more to February than love and chocolates, it is National Children’s Dental Health Month! We use this opportunity to raise awareness on the importance of children’s oral health. Some may think that baby teeth aren’t important — “they’ll fall out anyway.” Not only do baby teeth help with smiling, chewing, and speaking clearly, but they also hold space in the jaw for permanent teeth to come in. Missing or decayed baby teeth can cause permanent teeth to drift and erupt in different spaces, which can lead to unhealthy smiles and early orthodontic treatment. Similarly to adults, children may have dental x-rays, sealants, and orthodontic treatment, as recommended by your dentist. A couple of things parents should be aware of: cavities and baby bottle tooth decay.
Cavities happen when sugary and starchy foods stay in the mouth for too long and along with bacteria they eat away at the enamel. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research say that “tooth decay is the most common disease in children.” Treatment for cavaties often includes dental fillings.
Here are some steps that parents can take to help prevent cavities and early loss of baby teeth:
- Cleanings baby’s mouth during first few days of birth and thereafter – gently wiping the gums with a clean, moist gauze pad or wash cloth
- Children the age of 3 and under can start using a toothbrush with toothpaste as soon as teeth erupt, using fluoride toothpaste no more than the size of a grain of rice
- Children the ages of 3-6 can start using electric tooth brushes, such as SoniCare or Oral-B
- Parents should supervise and assist in brushing until child can reach all the areas, which usually happens around 8 years of age
Among other things, younger children are susceptible to rampant caries known as Baby Bottle Tooth Decay. This kind of tooth decay most often occurs on the upper front teeth and happens when teeth are exposed to sugary drinks for a long time.
Some steps to take to prevent baby bottle tooth decay:
- Not sharing saliva through feeding spoons or pacifiers
- Brushing twice per day
- Using toothpaste with fluoride
- Supervising and assisting children while brushing
- Placing only formula, milk, breast milk, or water in the bottle
- Making sure that the bottle is finished and empty before child falls asleep with bottle in the mouth
- Not dipping pacifier in any sweets
- At age 1, child should drink out of cup
- Healthy eating habits
- Don’t forget to see your friendly neighborhood dentist before first birthday
At Artful Smiles we are committed to helping you and your child build lifelong healthy habits! If you have any questions regarding avoiding a first cavity or scheduling a first dental visit, please give us a call.