Tips for Cavity Prevention:
The first baby teeth come into the mouth are the two bottom front teeth. You will notice this when your baby is about 6-8 months old. Next to follow will be the 4 upper front teeth and the remainder of your baby's teeth will appear periodically. They will usually appear in pairs along the sides of the jaw until the child is about 2 1/2 years old.
At around 2 1/2 years old your child should have all 20 teeth. Between the ages of 5 and 6 the first permanent teeth will begin to erupt. Some of the permanent teeth replace baby teeth and some don't. Don't worry if some teeth are a few months early or late as all children are different.
Baby teeth are important as they not only hold space for permanent teeth but they are important to chewing, biting, speech and appearance.
For this reason it is important to maintain a healthy diet and daily hygiene.
Baby Bottle / Decay
What causes tooth decay?
Several specific types of bacteria that live on the teeth cause decay. When sugar is consumed the bacteria use the sugar and then manufacture acids that dissolve the teeth and cause an infection in the tooth. This infection is called decay.
What is "baby-bottle" tooth decay?
Babies who go to bed with a bottle of milk, formula or juice are more likely to get tooth decay. Because the sugar in formula, milk or juice stays in contact with the teeth for a long time during the night, the teeth can decay quickly.
Here are some tips to avoid baby-bottle tooth decay:
What is fluoride?
Fluoride helps make teeth strong and prevents tooth decay. If the water where you live does not have enough fluoride, your doctor may prescribe fluoride supplements (fluoride drops or pills). You would give these drops or pills every day, starting when your child is about 6 months old. Only give as much as the directions say to use, because too much fluoride can cause spots on your child's teeth. Also, be sure to call your local water authority and ask if your water is fluoridated. If it is, tell your dentist or pediatrician so that your child is not being over fluoridated. Children should take these drops or pills until they are 12 to 16 years old (or until you move to an area with fluoride in the water).
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Diet and Cavity Prevention
Q. How do I know if my child is getting the appropriate amount of fluoride in their diet?
A. If you do not reside in a community that has fluoridated water or have the appropriate amount of natural fluoride in your well water, your child will need some sort of supplement in their diet. We can help you determine how much of a supplement your child needs based upon their weight, age, current water fluoride levels and brand of toothpaste.
Q. What is an appropriate diet for my child?
A. It is important that your child receives a naturally balanced diet that includes the important nutrients your child needs in order to grow. A daily diet that includes the major food groups of Meat, Fish and Eggs, Vegetables and Fruits, Breads and Cereals as well as Milk and Other Dairy Products.
Q. Can my childs diet affect their dental health?
A. Absolutely. It is important that you initiate a balanced diet for your child so that their teeth develop appropriately. In addition, this will positively affect healthy gum tissue surrounding the teeth. Please note that a diet high in sugar and other forms of carbohydrates may increase the probability of tooth decay.
Q. How do I create a diet safe my childs teeth?
A. As we stated earlier, initiate a balanced diet. Analyze the frequency in which starch based foods are eaten. These types of foods include breads, pasta, potato chips, etc. In addition, sugar is found in more than just candy. All types of sugars can promote tooth decay. For example, most milk-based products contain sugar. A Peanut butter and jelly sandwich is a favorite for bag lunches. Unfortunately, it includes sugar not only in the jelly, but also in the peanut butter. For less sugar and more flavor and nutrients, try replacing jelly with fresh fruit slices (apples, pears, or bananas) or chopped dried fruit. Go easy on the peanut butter, thoughits high in fat. Choose the no-salt-added kind for less sodium.
Q. Should I eliminate all sugar and starch from my childs diet?
A. Of course not. Many of these foods are incredibly important to your childs health. Starch based foods are much safer to eat for teeth when eaten with an entire meal. Foods that stick to teeth are also more difficult to wash away by water, saliva or other drinks. Its important you talk to our staff about your childs diet and maintaining proper dental care.
Q. What helpful information can you give me regarding tooth decay in infants?
A. Most importantly, dont nurse your children to sleep. Nor should you put them to bed with a bottle of milk, juice or formula. When a child is sleeping, any liquid that remains in the mouth can support the bacteria that produce acid and harms the teeth. A simple pacifier or bottle of water is fine.
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Sealants
Q. What are sealants?
A. Tooth Sealants refer to a plastic which a dentist bonds into the grooves of the chewing surface of a tooth as a means of helping to prevent the formation of tooth decay.
Q. How do sealants work?
A. In many cases, it is near impossible for children to clean the tiny grooves between their teeth. When a sealant is applied, the surface of the tooth is somewhat flatter and smoother. There are no longer any places on the chewing part of the tooth that the bristles of a toothbrush can't reach and clean. Since plaque can be removed more easily and effectively, there is much less chance that decay will start.
Q. What is the life expectancy of tooth sealants?
A. The longevity of sealants can vary. Sealants which have remained in place for three to five years would be considered successful, however, sealants can last much longer. It is not uncommon to see sealants placed during childhood still intact on the teeth of adults. Our office will check your childs sealants during routine dental visits and will recommend repair or reapplication when necessary.
Q. Which teeth should be sealed?
A. Any tooth that has characteristics, which a sealant can correct, and thus place the tooth at less risk for developing decay, should be sealed. The most common teeth for a dentist to seal are a childs "back" teeth, and of these teeth the molars are the most common teeth on which dental sealants are placed. The recommendation for sealants should be considered on a case by case basis.
Q. What is the procedure for placing sealants?
A. Generally the procedure takes just one visit. Placing dental sealants can be a very easy process. The tooth is cleaned, conditioned and dried. The sealant is then flowed onto the grooves of the tooth where it is hardened with a special blue light. The sealant is then buffed down. All normal activities can occur directly after the appointment.
Q. How important is brushing and flossing after sealants are applied?
A. It is just as important for your child to brush and floss their teeth. Sealants are only one part of the defensive plan against tooth decay.
Q. How much does it cost?
A. This treatment is quite affordable, especially when you consider the value of protection against tooth decay. Most dental insurance companies cover sealants. Check with your insurance company about your childs coverage.