No one is immune to tooth decay, not even children. Children can face caries (cavities) as soon as their first teeth start coming in. In fact, research has linked early childhood caries to pain, tooth loss, decreased weight gain, impaired growth, and lower quality of life. Therefore, it is important to both, understand and learn how to prevent caries, and thus, tooth decay in children.
Preventing tooth decay is especially important when it comes to babies. This is because early tooth loss of baby teeth can result in other teeth moving and not leaving space for permanent teeth to come in. The primary reason for tooth decay in babies is acidic bacteria in their mouths. Another reason is excessive exposure to fluids other than water. In fact, sugary drinks and food can increase acidity and eat away tooth enamel.
Children under the age of 6 are especially prone to cavities and enamel erosion. This is due to a number of factors including improper or infrequent brushing and a poor diet. It is important to make sure that even young children brush their teeth and clean their gums. Those younger than 3 years of age should use an extremely small amount of toothpaste – this is often recommended to be around the size of a single grain of rice. Those above 3, however, should use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. Flossing should also be a regular occurrence after 2 years of age.
However, tooth decay isn’t doomed to happen. Parents can take careful measures to make sure that their children do not form caries. With babies, it is especially important not to transfer your saliva onto their mouths – this happens through tasting their food and licking the spoon. Young children should focus on a well-balanced diet, fluoride intake, and daily brushing and flossing.
If you suspect that your child may be suffering from caries and tooth decay, call Gallatin Valley Pediatric Dentistry at 406-224-4272. You can schedule an appointment with Dr. Justin and Dr. Joni or our dentists, both of whom are experienced in pediatric dental care.