Patient Hanouts for Dental Professionals
Caries occurs when primary teeth (baby) are continuously exposed to fruit juice, soda, milk; including breast milk or other sweetened foods or liquids for long periods of time.
Tooth decay can begin when a child’s first two incisors have erupted. If left untreated caries can spread quickly to adjacent teeth and even to permanent adult teeth that have not erupted.
When a baby or young child eats or drinks sugary fluids or snacks bacteria in the mouth turn to acids which then attack the enamel of your child’s teeth and unfortunately will lead to child hood dental caries.
Breastfeeding and bottles
- Infants should not fall asleep with a bottle containing milk, formula, fruit juice or
- Sweetened liquids, or other diluted drinks which can also cause tooth decay.
- Infants should not fall asleep at bed time with breast in mouth after eruption of first tooth; bottle and breast should only be given at feeding time and not be used as a pacifier substitution.
- Offering a bottle to your child many times throughout the day increases infants risk of childhood dental caries.
- Children, when age appropriate (1 yr. +) should be encouraged to drink from a cup to reduce the risk of tooth decay.
- Using training cups should be limited to meal time only. A child who uses a cup frequently containing juice or milk puts your child at risk for developing (caries) tooth decay, offer water in cup instead.
Keep your child’s teeth healthy
- Parents must play an active role in keeping your child’s teeth clean.
- It is important to provide a balanced diet and make sure your child sees a dentist twice a year.
- Parents and caregivers must teach and practice healthy habits so children will continue this healthy lifestyle into adulthood.
Start oral hygiene at home
- Drinking water after meals and feedings.
- Use a clean wash cloth to wipe your baby’s gums; this removes food particles that can harm erupting teeth.
- Start brushing your baby’s teeth with a soft tooth brush and water as soon as first tooth erupts. You can also use a tooth brush to gently massage the gums in areas that remain toothless.
- Fluoridated tooth paste may not be recommended until the age of 4; ask your dentist as you want to be sure child is not swallowing large amounts of toothpaste.
- When toothpaste is used place a pea-sized amount on tooth brush and encourage child to spit out toothpaste.
- Young children should always be supervised by an adult when brushing.