Like adults, children (including toddlers) can succumb to tooth decay. In fact, 42 percent of children aged between two and 11 develop cavities while 28 percent of kids aged between two and five years old develop at least one cavity.
But what exactly causes cavities or tooth decay in children?
There are plenty of possible reasons why tooth decay occurs and cavities develop in children. One of the most common reasons is poor oral health care, especially if your child is not fond of brushing his or her teeth before turning in for bed.
If your child still drinks milk or juices from a bottle, there is a high possibility that he or she will develop cavities if you do not ask your child to brush his or her teeth before sleeping. The juice or milk that your child drinks from the bottle can sit in his or her mouth. In turn, the remnants of these liquids can serve as the perfect breeding ground for bacteria.
Another common cause of tooth decay would be poor dietary choices. If you are fond of giving your child unlimited access to sweet and sugary foods, he or she can be highly susceptible to tooth decay.
If you want to keep your child’s teeth healthy, here are some tips for preventing tooth decay in kids.
If your child still drinks from a bottle, don’t let him bring his or her bottle or sippy cup to bed. If he or she cannot sleep without one, put in water instead of juice or milk. As soon as you possibly can, wean your child off the bottle or sippy cup and, instead, give juices or milk to your child using a glass. This reduces your kid’s exposure to the sugars in the milk or juice.
Let your child learn good oral habits as soon as possible. This includes brushing and flossing teeth twice daily. We encourage kids to use a soft-bristled toothbrush. Your child’s teeth and gums should always be treated with gentle care. We do not recommend the use of fluoride toothpaste unless your child is over two years old or already knows how to spit toothpaste.Although small amounts of fluoride are not proven harmful it is always better to be safe than sorry. Check out our blog about kids and fluoride for more information.
Finally, take your child to the dentist before his or her first birthday. If your child does develop a tooth decay problem, bring him or her to your local pediatric dentist. He or she may require fillings or even a full crown, depending on the extent of the damage to the teeth. These dental treatments are designed to contain the spread of bacteria. If the decay is too severe, the dentist may need to extract the teeth to prevent damage to the adult teeth.