25 Feb Caries in Kids
In this blog entry, Dr Johanna talks about cavities, tells us what causes them and gives some nutritional and general advice to parents to avoid cavities in your kid’s teeth. Read on to learn when the best time is for you start brushing and flossing your child’s teeth, and when you should take your child to see a dentist for the first time.
Cavities can develop when:
- sugar-containing foods are allowed to stay in the mouth for a long time,
- then bacteria that live on the teeth feast on these bits of food and can eat away at tooth enamel.
- Saliva washes away the acid between meals, but if your child is always eating, there may not be time for this acid to get washed away.
Nutritional recommendations for infants include:
- Breast feeding unrestricted, at-will nocturnal breastfeeding after eruption of the child’s first tooth can lead to an increased risk of caries.
- Providing the infant only formula, milk or breast milk in bottles. Liquids such as sugar water, juice or soft drinks should be avoided.
- Infants should also finish their bedtime and nap time bottles before going to bed.
- A pacifier should never be dipped in sugar or honey.
- The child should be encouraged to drink from a cup by his/her first birthday.
- During the transition to solid foods, parents should provide nutritious foods.
Following these recommendations will reduce the amount of sugar exposure to the infant’s teeth
Cleaning your infant’s teeth:
- Parents may begin cleaning their infant’s mouth during the first few days of birth by wiping the gums with a clean, moist gauze pad or washcloth.
- When teeth begin to erupt into the oral cavity, the parent may gently brush the infant’s teeth twice a day with a child-size toothbrush and water.
- A pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste may be added for children older than 2 years old, and the child must be able to spit out the toothpaste.
- Flossing should begin once two teeth come in contact.
- Parents should care for their child’s teeth until they feel comfortable that the child is able to care for his or her own teeth. Starting children early with good oral hygiene can lead to a lifetime of good dental health.
- An inadequate amount of fluoride may increase an infant’s risk for early childhood caries. Fluoride strengthens the enamel of teeth, making them more resistant to decay. It is found in toothpaste, mouth-rinses and often added to community tap water. Bottled water may not contain fluoride. Parents should discuss with a dentist or paediatrician the fluoride needs of their child.
It is advantageous for the first visit to the dentist to occur within six months of eruption of the first tooth and no later than 12 months of age, and receiving oral health education based on the child’s developmental needs, our dental team in Burwood will be able to provide proper guidance on how to care for the infant’s teeth.
Remember that your child might be eligible to $1,000 worth of dental services covered by Medicare, give us a call to 9747 6835 and we will be happy to arrange an appointment.