Tips & Recommendations for Caring for Your Toddler’s Teeth
At Smile Explorers Pediatric Dentistry, we know the importance of a child’s healthy smile. We strive to help our young patients establish and maintain optimal oral health for a lifetime. Following is information about tooth decay and recommendations on how to best care for your toddler’s tiny pearly whites.
How Does Tooth Decay Develop?
Bacteria feed on sugars left in your child’s mouth, which results in the production of acids that attack the outer, protective layer of teeth called the enamel. With repeated exposure to these acids, tooth decay starts to develop, which then results in cavities.
The Importance of Baby Teeth
Baby teeth don’t matter because they will eventually fall out. Right? Wrong. Maintaining your child’s healthy smile will provide benefits into adulthood. Your child’s baby teeth not only add charm to that beautiful smile but also serve as guides for the adult teeth that will eventually come in. They also help with the healthy development of the jaw and the muscles that will aid with chewing and speech development.
Some children lose primary teeth early on due to cavities or injuries. That can result in the adjacent teeth shifting into the space left behind, which can result in a crowded mouth, or crooked or misaligned teeth that will likely require orthodontic treatment down the road. Decay in baby teeth can also cause permanent damage to the adult teeth that are developing behind the scenes.
How to Prevent Toddler Tooth Decay
Brush and floss daily. Helping your child develop proper oral hygiene habits at a young age will set the stage for a lifetime of oral health. Teach your toddler to brush with a tiny amount of fluoride toothpaste, using a soft-bristled baby brush. Start flossing when your child has two teeth that touch each other. For more information on proper brushing and flossing, talk to your trusted team at Smile Explorers Pediatric Dentistry.
Prevent baby bottle tooth decay. Don’t let your child fall asleep with a baby bottle containing milk or sweetened liquids to prevent baby bottle tooth decay. It’s also essential to clean your child’s teeth after feeding, especially at night.
Limit sugary drinks. Avoid providing your child with sugary drinks such as sodas or fruit-flavored beverages, and limit the intake of fruit juices. It’s best to opt for healthy choices such as drinking water, or munching on fruit and vegetables instead. You’ll be providing your child with needed nutrients and will protect those little chompers from tooth decay.
Keep your mouth healthy. Did you know that children are not born with decay-causing bacteria in their mouths? These bacteria pass from adults, so keeping your mouth healthy will help protect your child’s oral health.
Regular dental visits. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that your child has the first dental appointment by the first birthday, followed by visits every six months. That allows for establishing proper oral hygiene care and helps us to determine your child’s risk for cavities. It also enables us to keep watch for any problems that could affect your child’s oral health.
Schedule Your Appointment Today
Visit Smile Explorers Pediatric Dentistry in Glendale, AZ, to learn more about how to care for your toddler’s teeth. We are here to answer your questions and look forward to working alongside you to ensure your child enjoys a healthy, happy smile for years to come. Call us today!