Tooth decay is fairly common in children, especially if they’re not yet old enough to brush their own teeth effectively. If your child has signs of decay, you should take him to your dentist for evaluation. Family dentistry practices specialize in ensuring the oral health of you and your children.
Taking Your Child to the Dentist
It’s vital to take care of your child’s oral health. The health of his baby teeth helps determine the health of his permanent teeth when they come in. If baby teeth are lost to decay, the permanent teeth can come in crooked or in the wrong place, creating problems down the road.
Ideally, you should take your child to the dentist as soon as the first tooth appears. Your dentist will give you instructions on how to care for your baby’s teeth to be sure decay doesn’t develop in the early years. You can use a soft cloth to clean the gums as well as the new teeth until your child is old enough to use toothpaste. Then you can use a child-size toothbrush and eventually teach him to brush on his own. Regular visits to the dentist will help spot decay before it becomes serious. If you see any unusual changes in the look of your child’s teeth or gums, take him to the dentist for evaluation and diagnosis.
Preventing Childhood Decay
Taking care of your child’s teeth by cleaning and brushing them is just the first step in keeping his teeth healthy. Avoid sugary foods and be sure he eats a well-rounded, healthy diet. If your child uses a bottle, don’t let him keep a full bottle available or let him fall asleep with the bottle in his mouth. This allows the sugary drinks to maintain contact with his teeth for a long period of time, which can lead to extensive decay. This phenomenon, called “baby-bottle mouth,” is a common cause of serious decay in young children. Be sure to take him to the dentist regularly, and when he gets old enough, teach him consistent, diligent oral care.
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