What You Need to Know About Preventing Dental Decay in Your Infant or Young Child
The oral hygiene of your children is crucial. You may think that, just because they have a mouth full of baby teeth, dental health issues may not be a big deal at a young age. This has been proven incorrect. When dental health issues are not taken care of and allowed to progress, the development of your child’s dental health could be put in jeopardy. This includes tooth decay. If your child has a cavity, tooth-colored composite fillings, as offered by Dr. Sona Isharani at Triad Pediatric Dentistry, located in the Greensboro, North Carolina area, are a great way to restore the tooth. Having decay removed and then a composite filling put in place will help minimize the risk of future dental developmental issues.
A Common Issue
We all know kids love chocolate, candy, and other sweets. In fact, we know adults love them as well! It can be challenging to resist the wonderfully sweet taste. Sweet treats can, unfortunately, lead to dental decay. Tooth decay is one of the most common dental health issues children face. While you may think that decay will go away on its own once the decaying baby tooth falls out and is replaced by a permanent tooth, the reality is that it can actually lead to some real long-term dental health concerns. This makes preventing tooth decay incredibly important and, if decay occurs, having it removed immediately before it can progress. You want your child to grow up with a strong, healthy, and beautiful smile, so this is a crucial matter. Let us learn a bit about tooth decay and how it can affect your child.
As an adult, you have had your dentist say it to you, and in an attempt to have your child brush their teeth, you have likely told them that you would get cavities if you do not brush. When you eat and drink sugary foods, bacteria nesting in the mouth will begin to feed on the residue left behind and convert into an acid that will attack your teeth. Over time, cavities will develop, which, when left untreated, turn into decay. It does not take much at all for this process to take place. Eating or drinking just one sugary food or drink can allow acid to attack teeth for 20 minutes or more.
The Myth of Decay and Infants
You may have heard that an infant cannot develop tooth decay. This is untrue! Tooth decay can affect a tooth in any stage of development. While it may be surprising to hear that a baby as early as six months old with a single tooth could develop tooth decay, it is an actual possibility. Tooth decay can be extremely uncomfortable and even painful for a baby if left untreated. It can cause infection, which could then spread and eventually destroy the baby teeth. It can also lead to difficulty eating. Nutrients are crucial to the development of your infant, toddler, or child. It could lead to developmental issues when they do not want to eat because of painful tooth decay.
A Lasting Impact
Baby teeth are for more than just chewing – they hold space in your child’s developing jaw so that their permanent teeth may grow in properly. When decay destroys a tooth and it falls out, it can cause the remaining teeth to drift into the newly created space. This can negatively impact the growth of future permanent teeth, resulting in crowded or crooked teeth. This is not just a cosmetic problem either. Crowded or crooked teeth can be harder to keep clean and healthy.
Keeping Baby Teeth Clean
Even before an infant’s first tooth breaks through, their mouths need to be cleaned after each feeding. This can be done using a clean wet washcloth to gently wipe the gums. Once the first tooth breaks through, you can begin to brush twice a day. Make sure you use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Apply toothpaste to the brush (about the size of a grain of rice if under three years old and pea-sized if under 6) and gently brush the teeth. This time with your child can be an excellent opportunity to teach proper brushing habits to your child. It is also essential to teach them not to rush the process so that plaque buildup can be prevented.
Regular Dental Visits
It is recommended that you take your baby in for their first dental visit when their initial tooth breaks through or near their first birthday, whichever occurs first. The earlier your child begins seeing the dentist, the better it will be for their oral health. Even at this very early age, a pediatric dentist can check for early signs of decay and track your baby’s dental development. If you want to learn more about how you can help your child avoid the development of tooth decay and how a composite tooth-colored filling can help, please reach out to Triad Pediatric Dentistry. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Sona Isharani, please call (336) 804-8668.