Preventing Early Childhood Caries

  • preventing early childhood cariesBring your child for his/her first dental visit by their first birthday or after the first tooth erupts.
  • Visit the dentist every six months to ensure good oral health and to prevent future problems
  • Do not put your baby to bed with a bottle or a sippy cup. Sugar can pool in the mouth for hours, resulting in decay.
  • If you are nursing, wipe your baby’s teeth with a damp washcloth after you are done. Avoid using the bottle or the breast as a pacifier.
  • Between the ages of 12 months and 18 months of age, wean your baby off the bottle. A sippy cup of water can be introduced at about six months of age.
  • Do not allow your child to walk around with a bottle or sippy cup. Your child should finish a drink within 20 minutes in order to avoid decay.
  • Avoid cleaning a pacifier in your own mouth before offering it to your child.
  • It is best to limit sugar intake, even before your baby gets teeth. The sugar acts as fuel for the bacteria in your child’s mouth. Bacteria produce acids that attack the enamel of the teeth. Give your child no more than six ounces of fruit juice a day. Dilute it by 50% water/50% juice.
  • Water is the preferred drink. Breast milk, milk and formula, if given too frequently or at bedtime, are especially harmful.
  • Fluoride reduces the incidence of early childhood tooth decay. You can start using a smear of toothpaste with fluoride when your child gets teeth.

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