One of the most prevalent chronic childhood illnesses in the U.S. is caries or tooth decay. They may inflict discomfort and infections, making it difficult to eat or speak. Additionally, they might obstruct your child's schooling and outdoor activities. According to studies by professional dentists, kids with poor dental health do worse academically and skip more school.
Although a newborn appears toothless, they typically have teeth buried in their jaws, ready to erupt. Experts concur that dental hygiene should start before a child's first tooth erupts. These teeth are essential in a number of ways. They preserve the room for the adult teeth to erupt. They also facilitate eating and improve your child's ability to speak clearly. These factors make it crucial to look after your baby's dental health.
Tooth decay, often known as cavities, can happen if you don't care for your kid's baby teeth. The top cause of tooth decay is plaque. In addition, your infant's baby teeth acquire a dangerous coating of bacteria. These bacteria create acids when they consume sweet substances or eat food. As a result, these acids damage your toddler's teeth and develop cavities. Dental decay can lead to:
Severe toothaches that might interfere with your infant's eating and sleeping patterns
Infections that might cause swelling and fever
Issues with the permanent teeth as they come in
Preventing Tooth Decay in Infants
If your child has a toothache, rinse their mouth out with water and have them floss to remove any food particles. Then, apply a cold compress to their cheek for pain relief. Don't give your child aspirin unless directed by a dentist or doctor—it could lead to Reye's syndrome, which is fatal.
If the pain persists, contact your dentist. Also, take your child to the dentist if they have a fever, swelling around the tooth, or any other concerning symptoms.
If you think your child has a dental emergency, call their dentist right away. In the meantime, try to stay calm and comfort your child.
If a tooth has been knocked out:
Find the tooth. Pick it up by the crown—avoid touching the root. If you can, gently insert the tooth back into its socket. If that isn't possible, put the tooth in milk or water. Get to the dentist as soon as possible—ideally within 30 minutes.
If your child has bitten their tongue or lip:
Clean the area with a cloth. Apply ice to reduce swelling. If the bleeding doesn't stop, call your dentist or take them to the emergency room.
Thankfully, tooth decay can be avoided. In infants' teeth, fluoride usage prevents about one-third of cavities. Using fluoride toothpaste to brush your baby's teeth lowers the likelihood that they may have cavities. Additionally, dental sealants are crucial for years of cavity prevention. Applying these sealants can help kids avoid cavities up to 80% of the time.
Brush your baby's teeth twice daily with fluoride toothpaste to ensure good dental health. In addition, make sure they drink fluoridated water whenever possible. When it comes to preventing cavities, fluoride is adequate. You can also speak with your pediatric dentist to apply dental sealants to your baby's teeth.
If your child is younger than six years old, watch them closely as they brush. Make sure they brush their teeth thoroughly and don't swallow any toothpaste. Continue doing this until they master brushing.
Clean your baby's mouth after each feeding at least twice a day before and after their teeth erupt. Use a soft towel or gauze pad over your finger to gently wipe your baby's gums before their first tooth erupts. Start using a small, gentle toothbrush as soon as the teeth sprout.
To protect their tender gums and teeth, brush in gentle circular motions. Make sure your toothpaste has fluoride, which is essential. Your child should be able to brush himself by the age of ten. Until then, you should brush their teeth for them.
Schedule an appointment with a dentist from Monahan Family and Cosmetic Dentistry when your child is one year old or six months after their first tooth erupts—whichever comes first. Then, please bring them to the dentist every six months for regular cleanings and checkups.