Starting your child’s dental care is the key to a lifetime of good dental health. Parents should schedule with their children’s dentist within six months of his or her first tooth appearing.
Childhood Tooth Decay Prevention
Today, tooth decay is almost completely preventable. You can prevent tooth decay for your child by following the helpful tips below:
Lower the risk of the baby’s infection with decay-causing bacteria. This can be done by not sharing saliva with the baby. Do not lick spoons or pacifiers to clean them before giving them to your baby.
After every feeding, wipe the baby’s gums with a clean washcloth or gauze. This will remove bits of food or plaque that can damage or infect erupting teeth. When your child’s teeth begin to erupt (break through the gums), brush them gently with a child’s size toothbrush and water. Infant toothpastes without fluoride are good at this age.
Once your child can be trusted to to spit and not swallow toothpaste (typically, not before age three or four), you may begin brushing his or her teeth with a small pea-sized amount of children’s toothpaste (contains fluoride, but not as much as for adults).
- Parents should help brush their child’s teeth until he or she is at least 9 years old.
- Use only formula, milk or breast milk in bottles. Do not fill the bottles with sugar water, juice or soft drinks.
- Before going to bed, infants should finish their bottles.
- If your child uses a pacifier, make sure it is clean. Do not put it in your mouth or dip it in any sugar substances.
- Encourage your child to drink from a regular cup by their 1st birthday. Limit the use of a sippy cup past age 2.
- Your child should maintain healthy eating habits that include a diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Limit snacks and sweets.
- Discuss your child’s fluoride needs with Dr. Bass and your child’s pediatrician. If needed, give your child fluoride treated water and use a fluoride toothpaste.
- If you are on well water, Dr. Bass can have your water tested to see if fluoride supplements are needed for your child.