Preventing Tooth Decay
Babies are born without the bacteria that cause dental decay (cavities). Babies aquire the bacteria from saliva that is passed from their caregiver’s mouth to their own. Caregivers (usually a mother or father) pass on these germs by sharing saliva, by sharing spoons, by testing foods before feeding it to babies, by cleaning off a pacifier in their mouth instead of with water, and through other activities where saliva is shared. The germs can start the process that causes cavities even before babies have teeth, so it’s important to avoid sharing saliva with your baby right form the start.
Tips to Prevent Tooth Decay
- Eat healthy foods to reduce the cavity-causing germs in your mouth.
- Ensure that you practice good oral hygiene by brushing often, flossing daily, and visiting your dentist regularly.
- Do not put anything in your baby’s mouth that has been in your mouth including spoons or a toothbrush and do not blow on your baby’s food.
- Before your baby’s first tooth becomes visible in the mouth, you should wipe the mouth after each bottle daily with a soft moist washcloth or toothbrush.
- As soon as teeth become visible, you should brush your baby’s teeth at least twice each day. You can use a wet toothbrush.
- Establish a bedtime routine that does not involve using the bottle filled with milk or juice to soothe your baby to sleep. Breast feeding your baby to sleep will also contribute to cavities. The natural sugars in these liquids will get changed to acid which will rot or decay the teeth and lead to dental infection and pain.
- Avoid having your baby drink from a sippy cup filled with juice or milk between meals. As an example, one glass of milk with lunch won’t cause cavities, but the exact same glass of milk sipped on every 30 minutes all day for weeks on end will cause many cavities very quickly.
- Establish a “Dental Home” for your baby with an early visit to a pediatric dentist.
- Brush at least twice a day. Make night time the most thorough brushing.
- Floss daily, at night time preferably.
- Daily use of Fluoride.
- Routine Dental Visits. (The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends visits to your pediatric dentist every six months for a check-up and cleaning. These visits will start your child on a lifetime of good dental health.)
- Apply Sealants to susceptible teeth. Tooth sealants protect these susceptible areas by sealing the grooves and depressions, preventing bacteria and food particles from residing in these areas.
Avoid these MAJOR cavity causers
- Going to bed with a bottle.
- Frequently eating and/or drinking during the day.
- Daily comsumption of candy.
- Eating or drinking right before going to bed.
- Skipping the bedtime brushing.