Tooth Decay Is PreventableSaturday, January 16th, 2016, 9:11 pm
When we are born we don’t have the bacteria that causes tooth decay in our bodies – babies receive this bacteria from their parents when they share food or eating utensils. There really isn’t any way to avoid spreading this bacteria, but we can make sure that teeth are protected by receiving proper dental care from an early age and continuing this care through life.
Many people think that baby teeth aren’t important. Not true – baby teeth allow for proper nutrition and speech while children are growing. Baby teeth also serve as “place holders” for the adult teeth that follow. Plus, tooth decay can lead to painful toothache.
There are lots of things that parents can do to protect their children’s teeth (these same tips will help protect adult teeth as well):
- Never put a baby to bed with a bottle. The sugars from milk or juice can create a condition called bottle mouth. Allowing a toddler to carry a sippy cup around all day has a similar effect. The teeth become pitted, discolored and decayed. In severe cases the teeth need to be pulled.
- Clean the teeth regularly. Just as adults need to brush twice each day, so do children. Babies teeth should be wiped clean with gauze or a soft cloth. Baby and toddler toothbrushes with very soft bristles are available. Children need help brushing until they are about 6 years old, after this they can brush with adult supervision — a good time to let the child start brushing is when they can tie their shoes!
- Flossing is important for kids too. As soon as there are two teeth side by side it is time to start flossing. Parents will need to help with flossing for a couple of more years after they are brushing on their own.
- Professional dental visits are important from the beginning. It is recommended that children have their first dental visit no later than six months after their first tooth erupts.
Dentists can further protect children’s teeth by applying sealants to the chewing surfaces of teeth to protect against cavities. Talk to your dentist about fluoride toothpaste and other treatments for strengthening your child’s tooth enamel to protect from decay.
Find out more about preventing tooth decay in children and adults by contacting Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-391-8777.