Did you know that babies and toddlers could develop tooth decay? In fact, bottles and pacifiers can contribute to the development of dental caries because of bacteria on their surfaces. Bottles are especially worrisome because of sugar compounds present in formula and milk. Sugar is a natural food source for cavity-causing bacteria. The bacteria that result in cavities is normally passed from caregivers to infants, thus making tooth decay an infectious disease. When your child’s first tooth emerges, we recommend scheduling a checkup with our children’s dentist so that our team can evaluate your baby’s oral health and determine if any abnormalities or potential problems need treatment.
Why Tooth Decay is a Problem
Some people mistakenly believe that childhood tooth decay isn’t an issue since baby teeth will ultimately be replaced by adult teeth. The notion that childhood tooth decay doesn’t require treatment or professional attention can harm your son or daughter’s well-being. Having cavities affects more than just the health of teeth. In fact, dental caries can lead to speech development problems, poor academic performance, and daily discomfort.
When teeth are damaged by decay, they cannot repair themselves. Once injury or disease has affected the surface of teeth below tooth enamel, our children’s dentist must apply a restoration to the tooth to stop the advancement of a cavity. Restorations are minimally invasive and protect the structures of teeth from damage in the future.
When to See a Dentist
Like adults, babies and toddlers need professional oral healthcare. Your child’s first dental appointment should occur around his or her first birthday, when teeth begin to emerge. Annual examinations are important for detecting potential problems that may require preventive or restorative treatment. By the age of four, children should begin receiving professional cleanings.
Oral Hygiene Tips for Parents
Parents and caregivers should strive to keep their baby’s mouths as clean as possible. This means that all baby bottles and pacifiers should be cleaned thoroughly and wiped down between use. After feeding babies, wipe their gums with a clean and damp cloth.
To learn more about oral care or to schedule an appointment with our children’s dental team, call our practice today.