Here are some useful tips shared by Dr. Premila Naidu, a Pediatric Dentist
Dental caries is one a bacterial infection of the tooth. It is one of the most common diseases seen in children. We as pediatric dentist see cavities in children as young as 2 years old.
There are few things we can do as parents that can help reduce the risk of cavities in our kids.
A very important tip for breastfeeding/bottle feeding moms- Breastfeeding as such does not cause cavities, but the posture and the feeding habits can cause a very aggressive type of cavities called as early childhood caries.
Once the child’s upper front teeth have erupted into the oral cavity it is better to feed the child in the sitting position , wipe the child’s teeth with a clean soft cotton cloth or give the child a sip of water and then put the child to sleep.
Bottle feeding also leads to these cavities, and hence the precautions have to be taken. If the child is solely being battle fed then it’s better to move the child to sippy cup and then to glass.
The first check up for the baby should be at one year of age, so that we can identify any early signs of decay.
Pastes to use :
One of the important factors to consider while selecting a paste is the fluoride content.
For babies up to 5 years its better to use a fluoride free paste.
From 5 to 8-9 years a mildly fluoridated paste can be used.( fluoride should be between 300ppm to 500ppm)
For older children any adult paste with fluoride is good.
Brushing 2 times is a must .
For infants and toddlers it’s important that the brush head is small and extremely soft.
For older children a battery operated brushes are better, but always make sure brush head is small, and do supervise a child’s brushing to make sure they are cleaning their back teeth well. Especially around 6 years of age, the permanent molars erupt behind all the milk teeth, and they are very prone for cavities. So supervision is very important, because this also the time the children become independent in brushing. It is advisable to get these teeth checked and for prevention fluoride and sealants can be applied on these teeth by the dentist.
It’s not always only chocolates that can cause cavities.
Any sticky carbohydrates can increase the risk of cavities in children. Chocos , Oreaos ,a seemingly harmless chapati jam rolls etc are sticky carbohydrates .
Its best to limit them in children ’s diet and if given its advisable to get the child to rinse the mouth. Especially when you are travelling its better to carry healthy snacks like fruits.
Dental visits :
Because milk teeth are much smaller the cavities can go deeper into the tooth must faster. Hence it’s important to get the child’s tooth checked once on 4 to 5 months.
About the Author– Dr.Premila Naidu is Chief Pediatric dentist at Small Bites Dental clinic, an Exclusive Dental Centre for children. Dr. Premila is a Pediatric Dentist practicing exclusive child dentistry since 10 years.