How to Prevent Decayed Teeth in Toddlers

Tooth decay is one of the most overlooked health problems among toddlers. Did you know children are five times more likely to develop tooth decay than asthma, and 20 times more likely than diabetes?

When left untreated, tooth decay in a toddler can have lasting effects. Here is what every parent of a toddler should know about tooth decay.

Toddler Tooth Decay Explained

What causes it?

Tooth decay causes cavities, which can lead to serious health problems if not treated properly. A tooth can begin to decay as soon as it comes in. Tooth decay happens when teeth are exposed to sugary foods and liquids, which break down the enamel (the protective coating) of the teeth. Poor dental habits can also lead to tooth decay.

What signs should you look for?

The signs of early tooth decay in toddlers appear as white chalky areas around the gum line. More advanced decay creates brown spots that extend down the tooth from the gums. Severe cases of decay can lead to tooth loss.

What effects can it have?

Tooth decay in toddlers can lead to problems that will follow the child into adulthood. These can include stopping jaw bones from growing correctly, damaging the space where permanent teeth grow in, slowing speech development, and damaging a healthy digestive process.

How can you prevent it?

To help avoid tooth decay in your toddler, you should:

  • Choose water instead of sugary juices or soda
  • Don’t allow children to fall asleep while nursing or with a bottle in their mouth
  • Try to replace sippy cups with regular cups by 15 months of age
  • Make sure your child sees a dentist by age one, or when he/she get his/her first tooth
  • Brush your child’s teeth as soon as the first tooth comes in
  • Begin flossing your toddler’s teeth as soon as they begin to touch one another

How is tooth decay treated?

If your toddler’s teeth are decaying, he or she should see a dentist immediately. Call Kool Smiles today or make an appointment for your child online. Our dentists are experienced with children’s teeth and can correct your toddler’s tooth decay before it causes further harm.

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Sources:

American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry: http://www.mychildrensteeth.org/assets/2/7/ECCstats.pdf

WebMD: http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/tc/tooth-decay-topic-overview

NIDCR: http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/oralhealth/OralHealthInformation/ChildrensOralHealth/ToothDecayProcess.htm