Tooth decay is the most common oral disease in children. It’s no wonder with all these sugary foods and drinks readily available to them. But even if you steer clear of cookies and soda, your child can still be exposed to tooth decay in other ways. Your pediatric dentist in Redmond Dr. Daniel Bickel explores a couple causes of tooth decay and how to prevent them in this blog post.

Sugar

This is the big one. Frequent and prolonged contact with sugary foods and beverages is the greatest contributor to tooth decay. This could be that sugar-filled foods are most marketed and attractive to kids. It could also be poor brushing technique or oral hygiene habits. A lack of awareness may also be a culprit.

For example, did you know that a single serving size of orange juice contains 33g of sugar? That’s more than half of the daily intake recommended by the FDA for adults. Sugar hides in all sorts of places. It’s important to check labels, and eat well for overall health.

If you and your family can’t shake the sweet stuff, make sure you’re brushing after meals and using a straw for sugary drinks. If your child is still using a bottle, avoid filling them with juices, soft drinks and sweetened water – only milk, breast milk, formula or plain water. And try not to put the baby to bed with a bottle of anything but water. Even breast milk can decay teeth. It’s important to brush before bed and not allow formula and milk particles to sit on the child’s teeth and gums.

Bacteria

Sometimes bacteria is responsible for cavities in adults. What this means for your child is that you shouldn’t share saliva by licking the same spoon or cleaning a pacifier with your mouth. You could pass this bacteria to your baby and inadvertently cause tooth decay.

Incidentally, this type of bacteria feeds on sugar. So a low-sugar diet and regular cleanings for you and for baby will help eradicate the problem.

Bad habits

Children who learn good oral habits early are far more likely to stick with routines as they grow. Set the standard for oral health right from the start.

  • Wipe your baby’s gums with a clean, soft washcloth dampened with warm water after each feeding.
  • Be sure to make a dental appointment once your child’s first tooth erupts or before their first birthday, and stick to 6-month checkups.
  • Start brushing with a children’s toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste once the first teeth appear.
  • Begin flossing once your child has teeth that touch.

Start with the right dentist!

Dr. Bickel of Redmond Art of Dentistry treats patients of all ages. Specializing in pediatric dentistry, he can guide you on the best ways to take care of your child’s teeth. Call (425) 883-1331 to book your little one’s first appointment today!