Prevent: Early Childhood Tooth Decay

Source:  Canadian Dental Association

Once your child has teeth, he is susceptible to tooth decay. Mother's milk, formula, cow's milk and fruit juice all contain sugars.

Babies may get early childhood tooth decay from going to bed with a bottle of milk, formula or juice. Unrestricted at-will breast-feeding at night may increase the risk of tooth decay, although the majority of breast-fed children do not experience this early childhood disease.

It can happen to children up to age four. Once your child has teeth, lift his or her lips once a month and check the teeth. Look for dull white spots or lines on the teeth. These may be on the necks of the teeth next to the gums. Dark teeth are also a sign of tooth decay.

If you see any signs, go to the dentist right away. Early childhood tooth decay must be treated quickly. If not, your child may have pain and infection.

Prevent Early Childhood Tooth Decay

  • Breastfeed
  • Brush baby teeth
  • Wipe gums daily from birth and then brush twice daily
  • Plain water only in bedtime bottle or sippy cup
  • Avoid constant sipping of sweet drinks between meals
  • Stop using bottle and sippy cup by 14 months
  • Take special care of your teeth during pregnancy
  • Severe early childhood tooth decay can affect your baby’s health

Submitted by Matilda Atleo, Sr. Community Health Development Worker

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