Early Childhood Tooth Decay
WHAT IS EARLY CHILDHOOD TOOTH DECAY?
Babies who go to bed with milk, formula or juice left on their teeth are more likely to get tooth decay. Because the sugar in formula, milk or juice stays in contact with the teeth for a long time during the night, the teeth can decay quickly.
SOME TIPS TO AVOID EARLY CHILDHOOD TOOTH DECAY
- Establish a routine which includes brushing your child’s teeth after feeding them and before putting them to bed
- If your child needs a bottle in bed for comfort, put your child to bed with a bottle of plain water only, not milk or juice.
- Stop nursing when your child is asleep or has stopped sucking on the bottle.
- Try not to let your child walk around using a bottle of milk or juice as a pacifier.
- Start to teach your child to drink from a cup at about six months of age. Plan to stop using a bottle by 12 to 14 months at the latest.
- Don’t dip your child’s pacifier in honey or sugar.
WHAT IS FLUORIDE?
Fluoride helps make teeth strong and prevents tooth decay. If the water where you live does not have enough fluoride (like most areas of Sonoma County), your doctor may prescribe fluoride supplements (fluoride drops or pills) or recommend a fluoride toothpaste. Be sure to call your local water authority and ask if your water is fluoridated. Discuss all sources of fluoride with your pediatrician or pediatric dentist.