A Answers (3)
Early childhood cavities, or ECC, can almost always be prevented. The sooner you can teach your child to drink from a cup, the less likely they will be to develop ECC. If you give your child a bottle to drink from during the day or when you put them to bed at night, make sure it isn’t filled with anything but water. Even a bottle full of milk can cause tooth decay. Avoiding sugary drinks and foods is a good idea as well, and you should never dip your child’s pacifier in anything sugary. It is also important to practice proper oral hygiene for your child. This means using a soft brush or cloth with a little bit of water to clean their teeth following meals. On top of all that, you should schedule regular dental checkups for your baby to make sure their teeth are developing properly and staying healthy.
American Dental Association answered
Tooth decay is almost completely preventable. Your child’s baby teeth are at risk for decay as soon as they first appear-which is typically around age six months. You can help prevent tooth decay for your child by following the tips below:
- Lower the risk of the baby’s infection with decay-causing bacteria. This can be done two ways: by improving the oral health of the mother/caregiver which reduces the number of bacteria in her mouth and by not sharing saliva with the baby through common use of feeding spoons or licking pacifiers and giving them to babies.
- After each feeding, wipe the baby’s gums with a clean, damp gauze pad or washcloth. When your child’s teeth begin to erupt, brush them gently with a child’s size toothbrush and water. (Consult with your child’s dentist or physician if you are considering using fluoride toothpaste before age two.)
- When your child can be counted on to spit and not swallow toothpaste (usually not before age two), begin brushing the teeth with a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. The ADA recommends fluoride toothpaste; ask your dentist about your child’s fluoride needs.
- Brush your child’s teeth until he or she is at least six years old.
- Place only formula, milk or breastmilk in bottles. Avoid filling the bottle with liquids such as sugar water, juice or soft drinks.
- Infants should finish their bedtime and naptime bottles before going to bed.
- If your child uses a pacifier, provide one that is clean — don’t dip it in sugar or honey, or put it in your mouth before giving it to the child.
- Encourage children to drink from a cup by their first birthday and discourage frequent or prolonged use of a training (sippy) cup.
- Encourage healthy eating habits that include a diet with plenty of vegetables, fruit and whole grains. Serve nutritious snacks and limit sweets to mealtimes.
- Ensure that your child has adequate exposure to fluoride. Discuss your child’s fluoride needs with your dentist or pediatrician.
David Zirlin, Pediatric Dentistry, answered
Yes. A proper diet with good oral hygiene techniques and routine dental care from a dentist can help prevent early childhood cavities. Your dentist may make specialized suggestions for your child including fluoride recommendations and preventive sealants.