It is essential to bring your baby/child in to the dental office at least every six months starting around three years old. Your baby can have their first dental visit before three years of age, especially if there is any concern or question. Regular dental visits help to clean your child’s teeth as well as check the health of their teeth and gums. Periodically, x-rays will be taken to check for cavities between the teeth. It is vital to catch cavities in their earliest stage, and regular dental visits help to do that.
It is recommended to help your child brush and floss their teeth until around the age of 8 to help reduce the risk of cavities. It is recommended to brush at least twice a day and to floss at last once a day. Brushing and flossing help to remove the plaque bacteria that builds up on your child’s teeth.
Fluoride helps to prevent cavities by strengthening the outer layer tooth layer called the enamel. Fluoride is added into some toothpaste, mouthwash and even in the water supply in some communities. It is important not to eat, drink, rinse or brush for 30 minutes after using fluoride to get the best effect. Fluoride is also administered in dental offices at a more potent dose to help prevent cavities.
Milk contains natural sugars that can still cause cavities. The consumption of breast milk, cows milk and formula can all lead to tooth decay. Try to brush your baby/child’s teeth after the use of any milk while breast and bottle feeding and never put your baby to bed with a bottle of anything besides water. Cavities caused by breast and bottle-feeding usually occur on the upper front teeth and appear as brown or white stains and chips.
If your baby has a bottle in bed, they will likely fall asleep with milk residue in their mouth, exposing their teeth to sugars for an extended time. This can lead to an increased risk of cavities. Never put your baby to bed with a bottle of milk.