One out of every three children between the ages of two and five suffer from tooth decay or cavities. Here are a few tips to keep baby teeth healthy and pain-free:
- Teething Troubles: Avoid using topical gels or teething rings to ease your child’s pain while teething. Some of these gels contain benzocaine which the Food and Drug Administration recommends to not use in children younger than 2 years of age. Some of the teething rings can also contain chemicals and low levels of BPA. Instead, make an appointment with your pediatric dentist as soon as possible to discuss your child’s teething and some safe solutions to the inherent discomfort.
- Sugary Treats: Constant exposure to sugar, through fruit juice, sports drinks, candies, and desserts, is the biggest issue when it comes to tooth decay. Limit how often your child is receiving any of these items, and make sure he or she is drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Indulging once in awhile on sugary snacks is okay, but make sure to counteract it with good dental habits.
- Bedtime Bottles: While it might be tempting to let your baby doze off while having a bottle of milk or juice, it is actually potentially harmful to teeth and gums. Juice and milk contain sugar and those substances will coat their teeth the entire time they are sleeping. A water-filled bottle is a better choice for healthy teeth.
- Pacifier Best Practices: Pacifiers can be helpful – up to a point. Overreliance on a pacifier, however, can cause more problems than it solves. Dentists recommend that children are weaned from using a pacifier by age three to prevent tooth decay and avoid tooth positioning problems (like an overbite). The earlier you wean, generally, the easier it is. Make an appointment with your pediatric dentist to talk about your child’s particular habits, how to improve them, and possible solutions.