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Baby Tooth Decay Is Real

As soon as teeth start to make an appearance in your baby’s mouth, it’s possible for your baby to develop cavities. It is important to keep your baby’s gums and teeth clean to prevent tooth decay, even in baby teeth.

Keep Baby’s Gums and Teeth Clean
Begin cleaning your baby’s mouth during the first few days after birth. After every feeding, wipe your baby’s gums with a clean gauze pad. This removes plaque and food, and helps your baby become used to having his or her gums and teeth cleaned – and it will make tooth brushing easier later on.

Once your child’s teeth start to come into the mouth, brush using a children’s toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste in an amount no more than the size of a grain of rice.

Baby Teeth Are Important
Kids need strong, healthy baby teeth to chew their food, speak and have a good-looking smile. Baby teeth also keep a space in the jaw for permanent teeth.

If a baby tooth is lost too early, the permanent tooth beside it may drift into the empty space. When it’s time for the other permanent teeth to come in, there may not be enough room. This can make the teeth crooked or crowded. Starting your babies off with good oral care can help protect their teeth for life.

Baby Tooth Decay
Your child’s baby teeth are at risk for decay as soon as they show up– usually around the age of 6 months. Tooth decay in infants and toddlers usually occurs in the upper front teeth, but it can also occur in other teeth. In some cases, infants and toddlers have experienced decay so severe that the teeth cannot be saved and need to be removed. The good news is that tooth decay is mostly preventable.

Causes of Decay
Tooth decay begins when cavity-causing bacteria are passed to an infant. For example, if you put your baby’s spoon or pacifier in your mouth and then put it in your baby’s mouth, cavity-causing bacteria are passed to the baby.

Another cause of tooth decay in babies is frequent or long exposure to liquids that contain sugar, such as fruit juices, soda or other sweetened liquids.

To Bed Without a Bottle
It’s also important to put your baby to bed WITHOUT a bottle. Sugary liquids, including breast milk and formula, from a bottle pool around the teeth while the child sleeps. Bacteria in the mouth use these sugars as food. They then produce acids that attack the teeth. Each time your child drinks these liquids, acids attack for 20 minutes or longer. After these attacks, the teeth can decay.

Pacifiers dipped in sugar, honey or sweetened liquids can also lead to tooth decay since the sugar or honey can provide food for the bacteria’s acid attacks.

Keep in mind, while baby teeth eventually fall out, they hold space in the jaws for upcoming adult teeth. Your child’s baby teeth are important, and you need to take good care of them.


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