Tooth decay is the top health risk for children that many parents face today.
If you have a child, you’ll want to ensure they stay happy and healthy and enjoy their youth as much as possible. It’s therefore important to follow good dental care practices that’ll help prevent tooth decay in children.
Want to know how to keep your toddler’s teeth healthy? Read on for your guide on how to protect against toddler tooth decay and stay confident that your child’s teeth will stand the test of time.
What Causes Tooth Decay in Toddlers?
Tooth decay is the result of bacteria infecting the mouth of children. There are several ways that this can happen. It can occur due to:
- Sharing cutlery with toddlers and tasting foods before feeding them
- Frequent contact by mouth with other liquids than water
- Added sugars in food and drinks
- Not brushing your child’s teeth enough
However, the most common cause is through milk, formula, or sugar-filled drinks given to toddlers right before bed. This can lead to increased decay overnight.
Tooth Decay Signs and Symptoms
If your toddler’s facing tooth decay, it’s not always easy to spot right away. For example, while it’s sometimes accompanied by pain, that’s not always the case.
However, there are signs to look out for that will help you determine if decay is taking place. Here are the tooth decay symptoms to look for in your child:
- White or dark spots on teeth
- Tooth sensitivity to hot or chilled food or drinks
- Swollen cheeks or mouth
- Discolored teeth
- More fatigue than normal
- Refusing food
- Increased crying, tantrums, or agitation
When brushing your toddler’s teeth, you’ll want to look out for any abnormalities. If you notice any, it’s time to get in touch with a child dentist as soon as possible.
At Children’s Dentistry of Cherry Creek, we help prevent cavities from developing and take care of them when they do.
How to Prevent Toddler Tooth Decay
If you take the right steps, you can prevent your toddler from ever facing tooth decay in the first place. By following them, your child can enjoy clean and healthy teeth that will last them for life.
Here are some of the top tips to protect against tooth decay:
- Avoid giving your child food or drinks at bedtime
- Only add water to your toddler’s bottle or cup if they’ll be holding it for a while
- Train your child to drink from a normal cup as early as possible (as less liquid is likely to remain in the mouth this way)
But these aren’t the only ways you can ensure your toddler remains cavity-free. Let’s look at what else you can do.
Care for your Toddler’s Teeth Early On
If you’re breastfeeding, bottle-feeding, or both, it’s important to employ good dental hygiene practices for your toddler from the start.
You can begin cleaning their mouth with a face cloth when they’re firstborn. Once they start to grow teeth, the switch over to using a soft toothbrush should be made using a small amount of fluoride-containing toothpaste.
From aged 12 to 36 months, clean your child’s teeth for two minutes at a time twice per day. That way, you can progress them on to the right dental practices to maintain for life. Brushing after breakfast in the morning and before going to sleep at night are the ideal times.
Avoid Giving Too Many Sugary Foods
Sugar’s hidden in many foods, never mind the food that we already know it’s contained in, such as sweets, chocolate, cakes, and cookies. It’s best to limit your toddler’s sugar intake as much as possible to prevent tooth decay.
Try to only give sugary foods and treats in and around mealtimes. When you add in a proper brushing routine along with this, you can ensure your child’s teeth stay white and clean.
Limit the Amount of Juice You Give
The same applies to juice as it does to sugar: you don’t want to give too much. In fact, the American Academics of Pediatrics (AAP) advises that you shouldn’t give children under six juice at all.
If your child is between six months and one year, it’s best to only allow them a small amount of juice. Around four ounces daily should suffice, diluting it with water to reduce its chance of rotting teeth.
From one to three years old and beyond, you can move the amount up to six ounces per day. Treat it as you would with feeding – add a small amount more with time and progress them onto a higher amount. After a while, they should be able to handle some more, however, you’ll still want to cap it when they reach a certain level.
Consult With a Child Dentist
Making an appointment with a child dentist is a very smart idea, especially during the first year of life. It’s the top way for you to ensure your toddler’s teeth remain in good health, and you learn the right steps to keep them that way.
At Children’s Dentistry of Cherry Creek, we provide expert treatment with friendliness and care. There’s no better way to help your child stay comfortable through the process.
Tooth Decay Treatment Methods for Toddlers
Here are the two ways we can help treat your child’s tooth decay:
- Restorative treatment (a filling)
- Tooth extraction
For a filling to be placed, the part of the tooth that’s suffering decay must first be removed. This is done using drilling tools and techniques. The filling is then added, and the tooth is restored.
If the tooth becomes infected, an extraction might be appropriate. This involves pulling the tooth out completely. A spacer is usually left in after to allow room for teeth to grow as normal later.
Find Your Friendly and Professional Child Dentist Here
Have you spotted cavities in your toddler’s teeth? If so, then it’s time to seek out treatment. Now you understand the process of treating toddler tooth decay; you can make the move toward choosing your dentist.
Contact us and request your appointment right away! We’re ready to give your toddler happy, healthy teeth with a smile that will brighten up the room.