Tooth decay is one of the most dangerous tooth problems that may be affecting your toddler’s developing teeth. Tooth decay is the process by which the structure of the teeth is damaged due to breaking down of sugars by bacteria in the mouth. It results in softened tooth enamel that results in cavities. Tooth decay usually begins when plaque bacteria feast on the leftover sugar in your baby’s teeth. This leads to increased production of oral acids that dissolve the tooth’s enamel slowly. With time, the acid creates holes in the teeth and cavities. The softened enamel also acts as a doorway to other infections of the tooth.
If left untreated, the cycle does not stop her. More acid is produced as the bacteria continue feasting on the sugars in the teeth. Luckily, you can terminate this devastating cycle through regular dental checkups and maintaining oral hygiene. However, the essential precaution you can take is depriving the existing bacteria the sugar it breaks down. This can be done by limiting the amount of sugars your baby takes daily. Before limiting the sugar consumption, you need to identify the sources of the sugars to your toddler. It is easy to miss sugar intakes in your baby, which can lead to tooth decay.
The following are some of the sugar sources that are not obvious in a toddler.
1. When feeding
As you breastfeed your baby, you do not think it causes any sugar problems to the toddler. This is entirely true as breast milk does not solely cause decay. However, if combined with other food products, it can cause decay something known as early childhood caries. If breast milk is combined with sugar-rich liquids and foods, it increases the sugar content in the teeth, which contributes to decay. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding, it is essential to limit the sugar intake in other foods. This way the sugar intake will be significantly reduced.
2. Bottles and pacifiers used 24/7
Infants can become restless at times, and adults use pacifiers and bottles to calm them down. These pacifiers and bottles are usually supplemented with sugars and sweet liquids to calm the child more. This practice may not be harmful if done once in a while. Unfortunately, constant use of the practice leads to increased sugar content in your infant, which contributes to decay. Avoiding the use of pacifiers and bottles with sweeteners is crucial. You can find other ways to calm the child to sleep other than using pacifiers 24/7.
Some medications are known to affect a baby’s tooth development. These medications contain small amounts of sugars that provide bacteria with food to breakdown to acids. Some medicines are also known to affect the production of saliva that is essential in neutralizing acids after meals. Always ask your healthcare provider if the medication provided have any dental effects. It is better if you can find any sugar free alternatives for medicine. If not, you will need to keep regular flossing and brushing routine with your infant. Also, include regular checkups to monitor the development of your child’s teeth.
It is important to limit the sugar intake of your infant to allow proper growth and development of their teeth. You can follow the above guidelines if you want to maintain the dental health of your infant. You can also contact Greater Houston Pediatric Dentistry if you have any questions regarding tooth decay. You can also book an appointment with us for a consultation and checkup with your infant.