Consider the use of antimicrobial, as appropriate, to prevent tooth decay. For example, to give the mouth an extra good clean, rinsing with an antimicrobial mouth rinse is recommended. These kill bacteria in the mouth and help in cleaning at the gum line. This is an important tip to prevent tooth decay as well as gum disease.
Another tip to prevent tooth decay is to be aware of the amount of sugar in foods and drink and even some medications. Don’t be fooled by fruit juices or foods that claim they are low fat. Many fruit juices have loads of added sugar and do more harm than good. Make sure your child brushes after consuming any of these items.
Many dental injuries can be prevented in toddlers and children.
- Try to childproof your home to prevent your toddler from dental injuries by using nonskid rug pads to keep carpeting secure and prevent your child from tripping. Apply foam padding to sharp table corners to prevent your toddler from hurting his mouth and teeth on edges. Install childproof cabinet locks, especially on low compartments that can hit your child’s mouth upon opening.
- Buy your toddler or child a bike helmet and make sure they wear it while riding a tricycle or bicycle. Dental injuries that occur as a result of a biking accident may be prevented or limited with the extra layer of protection.
- Place your child in a properly installed and fastened car seat every time they ride with you in a vehicle. Or, when old enough, be sure to use a seat belt to prevent or reduce injuries to the mouth during a motor vehicle accident.
- Be sure your child wears a mouth guard while participating in sports. A mouth protector can be made by a dentist or purchased at a store that sells athletic supplies.
- Be sure your child wears a helmet and face guard in sports during which a face, mouth, or head injury could occur.
- Keep emergency phone numbers handy in case of an accident.
Tooth decay occurs when plaque — that sticky film of bacteria that accumulates on teeth — breaks down sugars in food. The bacteria produce damaging acids that dissolve the hard enamel surfaces of teeth. If the damage is not stopped or treated, the bacteria can penetrate through the enamel and cause tooth decay (also called cavities or caries). Cavities weaken teeth and can lead to pain and tooth loss.
We recommend fluoride treatment for your child once a year, or as needed, during their regularly scheduled dental exam and cleaning. The fluoride comes in the form of a foam or gel, place in trays over the teeth. This treatment strengthens the mineral component of the teeth, making them stronger and less susceptible to acid and cavities.
Making healthy food, snack and drink choices are an important part of taking care of your teeth. After you eat, bacteria go crazy over the sugar on your teeth. The bacteria break it down into acids that eat away tooth enamel, causing holes called cavities. Plaque also causes gingivitis ( jin-juh-vi-tis), which is gum disease that can make your gums red, swollen, and sore. Limit the frequency of sugary drinks or snacks.
When will my child’s teeth come in? While every child is different, most of the primary teeth (baby teeth) come in between the ages of 4 and 12 months.
When will my child’s permanent teeth come in? Your child will begin losing his/her primary teeth (baby teeth) around the age of 6. The first teeth to be lost are usually the central incisors. This is usually followed by the eruption of the first permanent molars. The last baby tooth is usually lost around the age of 12, and is the cuspid or second molar. There will be a total of 32 permanent (adult) teeth.
Good Oral Hygiene is very important in the fight against tooth decay (cavities).
- Be sure you take an ongoing role in the brushing of your child’s teeth especially at bedtime.
- Avoid sharing toothbrushes or other utensils or cups with your child.
- Make healthy food, snack and drink choices on a daily basis for your child
- Continue regular dental visits for your child beginning at 6 months of age.
- Consider dental sealants for primary (baby) and permanent (adult) teeth as indicated by your dentist.