Every child is at risk of tooth decay. The enamel (hard outer layer) is much thinner and softer on baby teeth, making them at greater risk of decay. If a child loses a baby tooth to decay, this can disrupt the space in the mouth and make it harder for the adult tooth to develop correctly. This risk is preventable with careful attention and dental care from parents.
Your toddler’s baby teeth need to be treated just as importantly as permanent teeth. They stimulate the jawbone as your child grows and are important placeholders for future permanent teeth. Baby teeth also help children to eat and speak. Some parents find it difficult to know how to properly care for a toddler’s teeth however. Below are some tips on preventing decay and maintaining your child’s dental health.
Common Causes of Tooth Decay in Toddlers
Like in adults, bacteria feeding on sugars, which create acids that dissolve tooth enamel, cause tooth decay in toddlers. There are a number of particular risks for toddlers developing tooth decay. For example, parents and caregivers can pass bacteria to toddlers through their own saliva when sharing spoons or cups or testing foods before feeding it to them.
Tooth decay can develop anytime your child’s teeth and gums are exposed to any liquid or food other than water for frequent or extended periods. Formula, milk, juice (even when diluted with water) and any other drinks containing natural or added sugars will contribute to decay.
Signs of Tooth Decay in Toddlers
Tooth decay in toddlers might first appear as white spots at the gum line on the upper front teeth. These spots are hard to see without proper equipment. Instead of waiting for warning signs, ensure you take good care of your child’s dental health as well as their own and take them to visit the dentist regularly starting from the age of one.
Dental Health Starts Before Teeth Come In
Just because you can’t see your baby’s teeth, it doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Good dental health begins before the first tooth appears. Teeth actually begin forming in the second trimester of pregnancy. When born, your baby has 20 primary teeth, some of which are fully developed in the jaw. Before your baby starts teething, parents should run a clean, damp washcloth over the gums to clear away harmful bacteria.
Brushing for Toddlers
When your child gets teeth, that’s when you should start brushing them using an infant toothbrush and a tiny amount of fluoride toothpaste (about the size of a grain of rice). When two of your child’s teeth touch, you can begin flossing between them.
By around age 2, your child should learn to spit while brushing. Avoid giving them water to swish and spit because this can make swallowing toothpaste more likely. Children aged 3 and over can then start using a children’s toothbrush and a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.
Book a Dental Appointment in North Lakes Today
At Mango Hill Dental, we provide a wide range of dentistry services for people of all ages in a relaxed, friendly atmosphere. Contact us today to book an appointment today at our clinic in North Lakes.