Tooth decay can occur in infants as young as six months! Incisors, the upper four front teeth are the most commonly affected teeth in infant tooth decay. It is commonly known that inappropriate use of bottles causes infant tooth decay.
Symptoms of Infant Tooth Decay:
It is very difficult to detect infant tooth decay until the child is about 20 months old. The bad news is, by this time, most children need major dental treatments. Hence early detection is very important. It can be very difficult to detect infant tooth decay as its appearance depends on how severe or advanced the condition is. Unless it reaches an advanced stage, it is most likely that there are very few or no signs of indication.
Some symptoms of infant tooth decay are:
The occurrence of a white stripe along the gum line. This is the first sign and neglected by the parents. This line is caused because of the bacteria that are found in plaque. These bacteria, change sugars to acids that dissolve minerals that are a part of tooth enamel and lead to the generation of holes or cavities or decay in the teeth! The process of how enamel is dissolved by bacteria is called demineralization.
If the teeth go brownish or blackish, that means that the infant already has advanced tooth cavity. Most commonly the front teeth – upper 4 incisors are involved, while lower teeth remain unaffected.
Prevention of Infant Tooth Decay:
There are a variety of feeding techniques that might prevent infant tooth decay.
As inappropriate use of bottles is a primary cause of infant tooth decay, let us concentrate on how we can prevent infant tooth decay without using bottles, or minimizing the usage.
Feeding the child with breast milk and reducing bottle feeding reduces a risk of childhood tooth decay. Even if you want to use the bottle, remove the bottle from the kids hand when you think the child is full. Using boiled water reduces the exposure of the child to bacteria. Well, don’t forget to cool the boiled water before feeding the child (very obvious, but just in case!). Give children more water than fruit juices and sodas when thirsty. Start feeding them off a bowl, or a feeding cup.
Work on tooth brushing with the child. You can start as early as the first twinkling tooth pops out 🙂 by cleaning it regularly with a clean thin cloth or a paper towel. You can start using a toothbrush when the child turns a year old. Let them start using toothpaste (or rather eat the toothpaste 😉 ) when they are 18 months old. Make sure you only use a little toothpaste and that the paste is not high in Fluoride Content. Visit the dentist regularly.
If, you or your child, or someone you know is a victim of tooth cavity, find a dentist or a medical camps with a dentist here at our free medical camps.