Early Childhood Tooth Decay − Louisville KY
Several specific types of bacteria that live on the teeth cause decay. When carbohydrate is consumed, the bacteria metabolize (digest) the complex or simple sugar and then excrete acids that dissolve the teeth and cause an infection in the tooth. This infection is called decay.
What causes early childhood 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.
How can I prevent early childhood tooth decay for my child?
- Never, ever put your child to bed with a bottle and if breast feeding, stop nursing once your child is asleep.
- Do not give your infant, or child, or yourself a bedtime snack or drink (except water) for at least 1 hour before bedtime. Chewable or liquid medicines or vitamins taken within 1 hour of bedtime can destroy teeth too. (Sometimes 80% sugar content)
- Do not to let your child walk around using a bottle of milk or juice as a pacifier. The same holds true with a sippy or junior cup. No “grazing”. Mealtime or designated “snack time” only. Only “graze” on Water.
- Plan to stop using a bottle by 12 to 14 months at the latest.
- Don’t dip your child’s pacifier in honey or sugar.
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 six months old. 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).