Did you know that 42% of children develop tooth decay between ages 2 and 11? Poor oral hygiene habits, high-sugar diets, and inconsistent professional cleanings are the major culprits of childhood tooth decay cases. Luckily there are ways to combat this widespread issue — and it starts with habits at home.
Our dental offices — located throughout the greater Chicago area — are here to help parents prevent tooth decay in toddlers. The most well-known cause of toddler tooth decay is formally known as “baby bottle tooth decay” which is when children are sent to bed with a bottle or cup of juice or milk. The bottle then stays in your child’s mouth the majority of the night, causing a breeding ground for bacteria.
The best way to prevent toddler tooth decay is to forgo the bedtime bottle filled with milk or juice and instead opt for a glass of water either before or after their nightly tooth brushing routine. No matter how tired your child may be before bed, always make sure they have brushed their teeth thoroughly. During the day, be mindful of what you are feeding your child. Brands market their food as “sugar free” or “reduced sugar” — but it’s important to read the labels and look for artificial sweeteners. Avoid these as much as possible, as well as acidic foods such as citrus that can weaken the enamel on your child’s teeth.
If your child is over the age of two, then we recommend introducing them to a fluoride-based mouthwash that can act as an addition to their nightly tooth brushing routine. Brushing will loosen the plaque on their teeth and gums, while the fluoride rinse clears it away and works to protect gums and enamel.
When it comes to treating toddler tooth decay, not all patients will have the same treatment plan. It’s important to contact a dental office that specializes in children’s oral health as they have the best plan of action. At our Chicago-area children’s dental offices, our goal is to preserve as much of your child’s teeth as possible. Conservative children’s dentistry involves preventative measures first, then having a plan of action that minimizes the need for more invasive tooth decay treatment procedures. For children experiencing tooth decay on their baby teeth, extraction may be necessary in order to not impede the growth and development of adult teeth.
If you are concerned about your child’s oral health and are worried that they may be developing tooth decay, contact our children’s dental offices in the Greater Chicago area today. Schedule an appointment online!