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Early childhood cavities
Tooth decay in young children is characterized by baby teeth that are seriously damaged by a cavity. This disease can progress very quickly and negatively affect a child’s primary and permanent teeth. The problem occurs in early childhood and the symptoms include:
- Sharp or chronic pain
- Trouble eating or sleeping
- Other problems that can result in long-term consequences
Preventing tooth decay in young children
Several factors can contribute to tooth decay in young children, such as diet and oral hygiene.
Breast milk, baby formula, cow’s milk and juice ALL contain sugar. Cavities are therefore caused by what the child eats and drinks, especially if the child goes to bed with a bottle (unless it is a bottle of water).
That’s why it is important to clean your baby’s gums after each feeding, even if your baby doesn’t have teeth yet. Once their first teeth appear, you should brush them using a small, soft-bristled toothbrush. The quantity of toothpaste should not exceed the size of a grain of rice.
Ideally, you should encourage your baby to stop breastfeeding before he gets too sleepy. Similarly, parents should not let their child fall asleep with a bottle in his mouth. Otherwise, liquid remains in the mouth cavity, promoting the development of caries lesions. Naturally, it may take time for your child to adapt to his new bedtime routine.
Listed below are a few tips to help make the transition smoother.
Tips for transitioning to a water bottle:
- Fill baby’s bottle with water only.
- If baby refuses, give him a clean soother, stuffed animal or blanket.
- If baby cries, don’t give up on the new routine. Console your child and start over.
- If your attempts still aren’t successful, give the baby a bottle of milk diluted with water. Over time, dilute the milk more and more until it is just water.
- If you are breastfeeding, try to stop the baby from sucking before he falls asleep.
Infants and toddlers should not be given foods that contain a lot of sugar. Sweet foods should be limited. You can also dilute their juice and offer healthy snacks that won’t stick to teeth, such as fruits, vegetables, and cheese.
Early childhood tooth decay can occur at any time before the age of four. It’s important to check your child’s teeth every month. Keep an eye out for stains, a faint white line near the gums, or darker teeth. If you see any of these signs, call your dentist. This type of cavity must be treated quickly before it spreads to other teeth or causes an infection.