For many parents of toddlers, brushing teeth can be a dreadful ordeal. When your kids are too little to do a good job themselves, the responsibility falls on you. The task is never easy when your little bundle of joy is bouncing or clenching his mouth shut. But, as much as they (and you) hate this part of the day, it must be done.
Cavities are a problem at any age, but they can be especially challenging when it comes to young children. If cleaning your kid’s teeth is a horrendous task, imagine how more difficult it’s going to be to make them stay still in the dentist’s chair while he is treating a cavity.
The problem is that tooth-brushing doesn’t seem to be enough to keep cavities at bay. While you might try to maintain proper oral hygiene and reduce your kid’s sugar intake, that’s not enough. Cavities can still appear beyond these causes.
With that in mind, here are five primary, and perhaps unexpected, reasons behind tooth decay in children.
1) Sippy Cups
Many toddlers develop the habit of always keeping their sippy cups in their mouths or even falling asleep with it. The design of these cups makes the liquid remain at the base of teeth for an extended period. If you give your child sweetened tea, juice, or even milk, the liquid will create the perfect breeding ground for bacteria, leading to cavities.
Oral problems in baby teeth affect the later development of adult teeth and may cause problems for many years to come. Encourage your children to drink the liquid from a regular cup instead of sipping it.
2) Pass the Love, Not the Germs
Tooth decay is caused by bacteria called “mutans streptococcus” that feed on sugary foods and produce acid that attacks the structure of the teeth. Scientists have found that babies are born without these harmful bacteria in their mouth and are typically infected by their moms before the age of two. It happens when you’re eating from the same spoon and transfer your saliva into the children’s mouth. Once your children’s mouth has become colonized with the bacteria, it’s only a matter of time until the first cavity appears.
3) Fluoride Water
Fluoride water is one of the most effective ways of preventing children cavities. In fact, community water fluoridation has contributed so much to preventing tooth decay that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention named it one of the greatest public health achievements of the 20th century.
If your community water is not fluoridated, talk to your pediatrician about fluoride supplements. Do not overdo it, though. Too much fluoride can cause white spots on the teeth.
4) Not Starting Early Enough
There is no such thing as “too early” when it comes to oral hygiene and treatment. If your baby has teeth, it means bacteria will soon fight over who’s first to dig in. You need to address this early on and make it a part of your day to day routine. Get the proper tools in hand for your little one’s tiny mouth and stick to a careful oral hygiene.
5) Unnecessary Sugars
You know that sugar is one of the main culprits behind cavities and you are doing your best to give only healthy, nutritious foods to your children. But even some of those so-called healthy foods can contain a lot of sugar. Make sure to check the label before buying something and see how many grams of sugar it contains.
Tooth decay in children can be a stressful event for parents. Go to the root of the problem and fix it before it’s too late. If your little one has developed cavities or if you want to ensure their teeth are protected, Dr. Nicholson can help you. Schedule an appointment and we’ll make sure to meet your child’s dental health needs in a comfortable and caring environment.