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The Facts About Childhood Tooth Decay

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), the recognized leader in children’s oral health, has emphasized that the frequency and duration of oral exposure to foods and drinks high in sugar should be given the same consideration as diet itself when it comes to preventing tooth decay and cavities in children.

Family Dentist Independence Few of us realize that throughout the day, a tug of war takes place inside our mouths. On one team are dental plaque—a sticky, colorless film of bacteria—plus foods and drinks that contain sugar or starch (such as milk, bread, cookies, candy, soda, juice, and many others). On the other team are the minerals in our saliva (such as calcium and phosphate) plus fluoride from toothpaste, water, and other sources.

Whenever we eat or drink something that contains sugar or starch, the bacteria use them to produce acids. These acids begin to eat away at the tooth’s hard outer surface, or enamel. Our saliva helps enamel repair itself by replacing minerals lost during an “acid attack.” Our teeth go through this natural process of losing minerals and regaining minerals all day long.​

Early prevention is the key to curbing tooth decay in your little ones. Brushing your child’s teeth as soon as they begin to develop will definitely help. So will flossing once all of your baby’s teeth have broken through. But there are a few things you can do to prevent tooth decay before your child even gets his or her first tooth.

  • DO NOT put your child to bed with juice, milk, or other drinks.
  • DO NOT fill your child’s bottle with any liquids that are rich in sugar.
  • After your baby falls asleep, take the bottle out of their mouth or stop nursing.
  • Limit the amount of juice your baby drinks to 6 ounces or less per day.
  • Using a clean washcloth, gently wipe the inside of your child’s mouth after every meal.

Once your child has teeth, make sure to take your child to the dentist tight away for an exam if you notice any of the following.

  • Bad breath
  • Bad taste in the mouth
  • Black or brown spots on the tooth
  • Chalky, white spot on the tooth
  • Pain, discomfort or tooth sensitivity

If after an exam the dentist discovers that your child does have decay or a cavity in the tooth, there are treatments available. The sooner you take care of tooth decay problems the easier they are to handle. ABC Dental offers several options for treatment including oral sedation. For more information on oral sedation contact ABC Dental.


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