baby bottle tooth decay

Children’s oral health: Starting early

Your child’s baby teeth are at risk for decay as soon as they first appear, which is typically around age 6 months. Tooth decay in infants and toddlers is often referred to as Baby Bottle Tooth Decay. It most often occurs in the upper front teeth, but other teeth may also be affected. In some cases, infants and toddlers experience decay so severe that their teeth cannot be saved and need to be removed.

The good news is that tooth decay is preventable!

Most children have a full set of 20 primary teeth by the time they are 3-years-old. As your child grows, their jaws also grow, making room for their permanent teeth.

Cleaning Your Child’s Teeth:
•Begin cleaning your baby’s mouth during the first few days after birth by wiping the gums with a clean, moist gauze pad or washcloth. As soon as teeth appear, decay can occur. A baby’s front four teeth usually push through the gums at about 6 months of age, although some children don’t have their first tooth until 12 or 14 months.
•For children younger than 3 years, caregivers should begin brushing children’s teeth as soon as they begin to come into the mouth by using fluoride toothpaste in an amount no more than a smear or the size of a grain of rice. Brush teeth thoroughly twice per day (morning and night) or as directed by a dentist or physician. Supervise children’s brushing to ensure that they use of the appropriate amount of toothpaste.

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•For children 3 to 6 years of age, caregivers should dispense no more than a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Brush teeth thoroughly twice per day (morning and night) or as directed by a dentist or physician. Supervise children’s brushing to minimize swallowing of toothpaste.
•Until you’re comfortable that your child can brush on his or her own, continue to brush your child’s teeth twice a day with a child-size toothbrush and a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. When your child has two teeth that touch, you should begin flossing their teeth daily.

First dental visits:
As soon as your child’s first tooth appears, it’s time to schedule a dental visit. Don’t wait for them to start school or until there’s an emergency. Get your child comfortable today with good mouth healthy habits.
Although the first visit is mainly for the dentist to examine your child’s mouth and to check growth and development, it’s also about your child being comfortable.
To make the visit positive:
•Consider making a morning appointment when children tend to be rested and cooperative.
•Keep any anxiety or concerns you have to yourself. Children can pick up on your emotions, so emphasize the positive.
Never use a dental visit as a punishment or threat.
•Never bribe your child.
•Talk with your child about visiting the dentist.

During this visit, you can expect Dr. Scopu to:
•Inspect for oral injuries, cavities or other problems.
•Let you know if your child is at risk of developing tooth decay.
•Clean your child’s teeth and provide tips for daily care.
•Discuss teething, pacifier use, or finger/thumbsucking habits.
•Discuss treatment, if needed, and schedule the next check-up.