As adults, we are asked to visit the dentist at least twice a year. However, the average 3-year old probably has never seen a dentist yet. By the time children reach kindergarten, about 25% of them have not been to the dentist yet – and yet we wonder why tooth decay is one of the most common long-term childhood diseases in the country.
This is perhaps caused by the lack of knowledge as to when we should first send our children to the dentist, and not knowing about when to start caring for the child’s dental health. Moreover, it is likely the exposure of sugary liquids to the child’s teeth that we let happen continuously.
Children should make their first dental visit about 6 months after his or her first tooth erupts. During this session, the dentist would likely inform the parents about the guidelines on how to protect the child against early childhood tooth decay. One of the common suggestions is to wipe the child’s teeth every after feeding, and for parents to limit the amount of sugary drinks that the child consumes.
The frequent and constant exposure of the child’s teeth to sugary drinks is usually known as the baby bottle tooth decay syndrome. While most parents are aware of such condition, they may not be aware about how sugary drinks have an effect on the possibility of childhood tooth decay.
For children, it is best to give them water and unsweetened drinks such as juices and tea. This not only reduces the exposure to sugar but also promotes overall oral health. However, take note that even fruit juices can end up causing tooth decay if the child drinks it through a bottle that he keeps in his mouth through the day.
If left unattended and untreated, baby bottle tooth decay can result in infection. Remember that baby teeth play a critical role because they hold the place of permanent teeth, and help ease them into the correct position. Hence, a child who has severely damaged and decayed teeth may need to have it extracted, and this will have a big effect on his or her permanent teeth, chewing and speech.
Hence, taking care of your child’s oral health should start as early as possible – and as consistent as possible. Keep yourself informed by consulting with your dentist to ensure that your child develops excellent oral habits that he or she will carry throughout his or her lifetime.
Here are some tips to help prevent tooth decay:
- Wean your child from breast or bottle feeding by the age of 1
- Use spill-proof cups to help transition them from bottle feeding
- Encourage them to drink their sugary beverages through a straw
- Teach them excellent oral habits early on. By age 2, you may start adding a small amount of fluoride toothpaste to their toothbrush
Contact Sugar Land Dental Spa for the most excellent dental services available right now. Call us today!