We are all born with 20 fully developed primary teeth tucked safely in the jaw until they are ready to breach. In fact, permanent teeth begin to form by the second trimester. So it’s safe to say that good dental care begins before your little hero’s first tooth comes out to see the light of day. Click To Tweet
Sugarbugs can attack early on, and tooth decay can develop if parents don’t practice good feeding habits. Your little one may not be as fussy falling asleep with a bottle in her mouth, but this practice can harm her growing pearly whites. The sugars from milk and juices will eventually stain and damage the teeth by eating away at the enamel. This condition is known as bottle mouth or bottle tooth decay and is characterized by discolored, pitted front teeth. That’s when our hero’s biggest battle against Cavity Creep and Plaki Plak begins. If sugarbugs win, they may cause cavities and the need for tooth removal.
Help your little hero by scheduling feeding times throughout the day to minimize sucking and exposure to sugars. You can even make the switch from bottle to sippy cup as soon as your baby reaches six months of age. At 12 months, your child will likely have developed the motor skills necessary to control a cup.
Call Little Heroes Pediatric Dentistry to schedule your baby’s first dental visit. We have locations in Laredo, Mission, and San Juan and are ready to arm you and your little hero for battle against a sugarbugs invasion.
Baby Teeth Safety 101
Take these recommendations into consideration to help your baby grow up with healthy choppers:
- Use a clean and damp washcloth and gently wipe your baby’s gums to remove harmful bacteria that sugarbugs thrive on.
- Use an infant toothbrush as soon as your baby starts teething. Just a touch of water and fluoride toothpaste with the American Dentist Association (ADA) seal of acceptance is all you need.
- Start to floss your child’s teeth once the teeth start to touch.
Toddlers as young as two should learn how to spit while brushing. Be watchful for swallowing. The toothpaste that is marketed toward kids is generally flavored though it should never be ingested. Children under six years of age should be supervised during brushing sessions to prevent them from swallowing or eating toothpaste.
Baby’s First Dentist Visit
According to ADA recommendations, parents should schedule a visit with a pediatric dentist by a child’s first birthday. Click To Tweet
During that first visit, you can expect your dentist to perform a non-invasive exam of your little hero’s teeth and explain proper brushing and flossing techniques. Not only will you be able to detect problems early on, your baby will feel more comfortable with each and every dentist visit. Dentist appointments won’t be a nightmare for them once they grow up.
Don’t panic if the dentist feels your child may be at risk for caries, or cavities. If caught early, your dentist will likely apply topical fluoride to your baby’s gums and incoming teeth. Fluoride is a valuable micronutrient for bone health. If applied topically to your baby’s gums, it will harden to tooth enamel and prevent some common oral issues in children like Gingi Gin’s gingivitis.
Dental Caries and Prevention
Cavities are progressive permanent damage to the enamel that require repair with a filling. This happens when bacteria, mostly from food, stays on the teeth for too long without being brushed away. Cavity Creep starts the tooth decay process stripping away precious minerals until a hole forms. This is the cavity. Cavity Creep can be easily defeated with proper oral hygiene practices and a well-balanced diet.
Foods to watch for:
Kids are subject to high-sugar foods. Sugary juices and candies are marketed specifically to children, and our enemy sugarbugs know this. Overconsumption of sugary foods can lead to enamel erosion and eventually dental caries Click To Tweet . To minimize the effects of sugar on your little hero’s teeth, have them wash their mouth immediately after eating to remove excess leftover sugar. You can take this same precaution for over-the-counter medications for children as they tend to be thick and sugary.
With too little fluoride in the diet, your little hero’s defenses against sugarbugs are limited, but too much fluoride may cause tooth discoloration. Your dentist will advise you on the best practices to maintain a strong arsenal. Most water supplies in the country are fluoridated, but if your family tends to drinks purified water you should consider finding another source. Make sure to use toothpaste that contains fluoride as the best measure in protecting your or your baby’s teeth from sugarbugs and tooth decay.
Start teaching your little one about the importance of dental health early on. They should know to brush their teeth at least twice a day for two minutes each time and to floss daily. It’s just another step in her daily routine, but it could be a fun experience with a little creativity. Play a song while she brushes and flosses. It should be at least three minutes long so she knows to be done with her oral routine by the time the song stops.
Cavity Treatment and Considerations
Family history is a good indicator of oral health. If you think your little hero may be have a genetic predisposition to oral problems like gum disease and tooth decay, keep a watchful eye on their oral health. A good dental hygiene regimen may not be enough to prevent cavities and other complications caused by sugarbugs. Schedule a visit with your dentist at the earliest signs of tooth pain.
The field of dental health has come a long way. Early prevention and detection in children are a dentist’ primary focus. The variety of treatments available to target your child’s dental problems are more extensive and kid-friendly. Gone are the days of metal fillings for cavity treatment. Materials like resins are used to bond to the teeth and fill cavities instead of those metallic fillings that are all too conspicuous. They are the same color as most teeth and are the preferred choice for medical professionals, parents, and patients alike.
Schedule A Visit
Call Little Heroes Pediatric Dentistry to schedule your child’s first visit to learn how to fight against the sugarbugs. Our offices and facilities are made to feel kids feel welcome and empowered throughout their dentist visit. Click here to learn about our facilities and the activities you and your child can expect during the first visit.