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You Can [Help] Prevent Childhood Cavities!

You and your dentist need to be partners in the fight against early childhood cavities. No one wants their child to have a cavity, but there’s no denying that the number of cavities in preschool aged children is on the rise. 


Did you know that cavities are considered a transmittable disease? The bacteria that cause cavities is in our saliva (spit). It is possible for these bacteria to be transferred from one person to another. So if you test your child’s food, then feed him or her with the same utensil, you’ve transferred some of your oral bacteria to your child. Another opportunity for bacteria transfer is if your child sucks on a pacifier or toy that’s been in another child’s mouth


What’s worse, your child’s newly erupted teeth have immature enamel that is more likely to develop a cavity. It takes up to seven years for tooth enamel to mature.


So what can you do?


   Start young--even when your child has no teeth, get him or her used to cleaning the mouth after eating. After a feeding, wipe his or her gums with a soft cloth. Once teeth come in, use an age appropriate toothbrush. Parents should put the toothpaste on the toothbrush--use a smear up to age 2 and a pea size dab for ages 2 and up. Children who have a high risk of cavities might need to use fluoride toothpaste even at a young age. Children don’t have the fine motor skills needed to brush correctly until age 8 or 9, so you should brush their teeth for them, even though they brush their teeth also.


   Reduce saliva transmission between family members--don’t share eating utensils or allow your children to share pacifiers.


   Reduce frequency of or avoid drinks and foods that contain sugar. This includes juices, soft drinks, sweetened teas, and milk sweetened with sugar. Don’t put your infant to bed with a bottle that contains milk or sugared liquids. Don’t let your child drink sugary drinks from a sippy cup at will throughout the day (try to limit the amount of time the sippy cup is carried around.) A surprising fact: recent study revealed that 41% of the average child’s daily calories come from soft drinks.


   Ask your dentist for a cavity risk assessment when your child is age one. His or her first tooth comes in at approximately six months of age, but many parents don’t take their child to the dentist until after age three. It’s beneficial if you can find a dentist who will be able to see your child as he or she grows. The more familiar with your child’s mouth a dentist is, the better she or he will be able to help you.


If you have questions about your child’s teeth, let Dr. Jennifer Robb help answer them. Give us a call at 440-960-1940 to schedule an appointment.


*Note: The Information in this article is not meant to replace the judgement of your healthcare professionals.