Parents try their hardest to keep their kids from experiencing harm and pain. It can be heartbreaking to see your child or loved one suffer from tooth aches and tooth decay. No matter the age, babies, kids, teens, adults, and elders can unfortunately develop dental cavities. It is commonly known that tooth decay develops as bacteria feed off of the left-over food particles on our teeth by producing acids that wear down tooth enamel. But, you may be wondering, “how is tooth decay possible for babies who aren’t even consuming solid foods?” You may have heard of the term, baby bottle tooth decay, which is a leading factor for a high rate of cavities in babies who particularly go to sleep with a bottle of milk or juice in their crib. Milk, which we know to be good for bone growth and development, does contain sugar so when it is constantly in contact on baby teeth throughout the night, it can lead to the development of cavities and future oral health problems for little ones. Baby bottle tooth decay can also be a sign that nutrients and natural healthy bacteria that help fight cavities may be out of balance in your child. When baby teeth become decayed, not only can it affect incoming permanent teeth, but also can negatively impact chewing, drinking, speaking, and the growth of the mouth. The decay may present itself with this appearance:
It is therefore important to develop good oral hygiene habits and nutritional diet from a early age. Our oral microbiome, or the normal friendly bacteria within our mouths, are needed to help us fight infections and keep the harmful bacteria from attacking our immune system. For instance, Streptococcus mutans, is typically the main bacterial culprit in causing tooth decay. Babies often get a load of healthy probiotics through breastfeeding and gains vitamins including A, D, and K through breastmilk.
We must encourage our children to eat healthy and also monitor their brushing and oral habits to help ensure strong teeth and a healthier overall body. For children under the age of 3, a smear of fluoride toothpaste on a child sized toothbrush is recommended for toothbrushing.
It is recommended that your child have their first dental visit by age 1 or within 6 months of their first baby tooth erupting. This is very important as the enamel of baby teeth is not as strong as adult’s. Be sure to see if the community you live in has fluoridated water. Fluoride, which can be applied at dental visits, and found in toothpastes, and natural water, helps fight tooth decay and remineralize tooth enamel. In addition, try to switch your child from a bottle to a regular cup as soon as possible because the liquid is less likely to sit for a long time on teeth.
If your child has extensive tooth decay but the tooth is still deemed restorable by the dentist, stainless steel crowns are the recommended treatment option by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Otherwise, extraction and space maintenance may be required. Losing a baby tooth earlier than expected can lead to crowding when the permanent teeth come in, as well as other oral issues. Tooth decay can also surprisingly be passed from the mother or caregiver to an infant or child through saliva. Be sure to keep feeding utensils and pacifiers clean.
Save your child from experiencing tooth pain, trouble sleeping, oral infections, growth issues, and time away from school for additional dental treatments that could be prevented.
Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and the caring team at Wellesley Dental Group if you have any thoughts or concerns; they will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or smile@
Your little ones and teens are welcome to visit our pediatric dentist Dr. Derek. Dr. Emad is happy to help with your orthodontic needs. For wisdom teeth extractions or any other oral surgery needs Dr. Stephens would be more than willing to help.