How do I Prevent Early Childhood Cavities?
A child's first visit to their dentist should occur within six months after the first tooth erupts. This can often be accomplished easily with a parent holding the baby in their lap and the dentist or dental hygienist sitting knee to knee with the parent.
The dental hygienist can quickly examine the baby's mouth for decay or abnormalities without difficulty. Additionally, parents will receive instructions on good oral habits for their child to reduce oral bacteria in the mouth. Parents will learn that 'brushing' their infants' teeth can be as easy as wiping them with a washcloth or using a toothbrush specially designed for infants.
Perhaps most importantly, parents will learn that limiting the intake of fermentable carbohydrates, especially juice and milk, is crucial. The frequency of drinking these sugary liquids correlates with cavities. The frequency and amount should be monitored, especially in bottles or cups at bedtime.
Preventing baby bottle tooth decay — also called early childhood dental caries — is one of the most important infant tooth care issues. This condition occurs when the baby falls asleep with milk, formula, or juice in their mouth. The sugars pool inside the mouth and can lead to cavities in both the top and bottom teeth.
To avoid baby bottle tooth decay, never let a child fall asleep with a bottle in their mouth and limit nursing as they sleep. If your baby needs something to suck on to fall asleep, offer a bottle filled with water or a pacifier.