How Much Milk Should 12 Month Old Drink Before Bed Tooth Decay in Babies – What is It?

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Tooth Decay in Babies – What is It?

Tooth decay in babies and young children is an infection. It can start as soon as the teeth break through the gums in the mouth. Babies and young children most often have cavities on the upper front teeth, but cavities can also be found on the back teeth.

Early tooth decay first appears as small white spots on the teeth. These white lesions will appear to grow or multiply. As the rot progresses, it gradually turns into a light brown spot and appears dull or chalky. The cavity may turn from dark brown to black. As the cavity gets worse, it sinks deeper into the enamel of the tooth and literally seems to eat away at the entire tooth. Eventually, a cavity will travel to the nerves and blood supply of the baby tooth, impacting the health and appearance of the permanent teeth as well as the overall health of the child.

Parents should remember that baby teeth and permanent teeth are living organs and a tooth, just like a child, can die from neglected infections. Less serious complications can include pain, inability to eat properly, slurred speech, and premature loss of a baby tooth.

Tooth decay is preventable and caused in part by germs. It’s painful and expensive to fix. Hospitalization is sometimes necessary for the treatment of tooth decay in babies. Tooth decay can also change a child’s appearance, which affects how they feel.

Infants are not born with these cavity-causing germs. They get them from caregivers; parents, guardians or grandparents. Whenever parents lovingly taste or test foods before feeding babies, they risk infecting their babies if their own mouths are not healthy and disease-free. Other modes of transmission include:

• Sharing utensils such as spoons, cups or straws

• Sharing or testing food and drink

• Sharing toothbrushes

• Clean a dropped pacifier or bottle nipple with their mouth

Early childhood caries, ECC, as it is known in dentistry, can lead to premature eruption and crowding of permanent teeth. It is a serious neglected health problem with devastating results. Prevention, early intervention and especially education are key to controlling this most common childhood illness.

Preventive measures include offering the breast, bottle, or cup only at breastfeeding times. Never put baby to bed with a bottle containing anything other than water. This includes diluted juices or milk. Even breast milk contains natural sugars that come into contact with baby’s teeth.

Rock, sing or play soft music instead of putting baby to bed with a bottle. Soft toys or a clean pacifier are acceptable bedtime rituals. Other important tips for preventing cavities include weaning and getting a dental office before the age of one.

Get babies used to having their mouths checked regularly even before teething. Wipe gums, cheeks and tongue with a soft, damp towel or gauze. Above all, brush your baby teeth as soon as you see them coming out. Only use a toothbrush with soft bristles and change it monthly as it wears out and accumulates germs.

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