What Causes Pediatric Tooth Decay?

Whether your child is a newborn or he’s in the phase of losing his baby teeth and getting his permanent teeth, you want to do all that you can to ensure your child’s mouth gets a clean bill of health. You want what is best for your child and that includes their oral health. After all, the health of your child’s teeth and gums are just as important as their overall health.

As a parent, you know that great pediatric dental care now will save your child from possible future dental health issues as an adult.

If you’re a new parent, you may not know where to start when it comes to ensuring great dental health care for your child. What major oral health care issue should you be on the lookout for?

It comes to the surprise of many parents that the number one childhood disease is pediatric tooth decay. While many parents are making sure their child is current on their vaccines and immunizations and in a panic rush their child to the hospital when the smallest health concern is suspected, the health of their child’s teeth and gums go neglected.

There are many ways parents unintentionally compromise their child’s oral health. Some of the common mistakes include:

Neglect to clean their child’s teeth and gums. Many parents don’t think to clean the inside of their child’s until after the first baby teeth erupt. Even as more and more baby teeth come in, some parents think that it isn’t important to clean them.

While parents may teach their children how to floss and brush their teeth when they are older, consistent oral care may take a backseat with the false mindset that baby teeth don’t matter as they will all fall out anyways and be replaced with permanent, adult teeth.

The care of the gums before the baby teeth come in should be cleaned regularly via a damp, moist washcloth. While primary teeth do fall out and get replaced, cavities in them can transfer into the upcoming permanent teeth.

Postpone in taking their child into the dentist. Similarly, parents don’t start thinking about taking their child into the dentist office until after their little one has a full set of primary teeth. When parents postpone their child’s first dental appointment, untreated dental issues can have progressed and be more complicated to treat and involve more intensive and prolonged treatment.

Don’t watch what their child eats. As a parent, you want your child to establish good eating habits. However, many children love the sweet and savory tastes of foods that aren’t good for their health. Even some food items that appear to be healthy like fruit snacks and fruit juice are full of cavity producing sugar. Fruit snacks also are sticky, leaving hard to dislodge sugar and bacteria between teeth.

Poor eating habits that contain sugar and starch-laden, nutrient poor foods and drinks are one of the biggest causes of pediatric tooth decay.

Fail to establish portion control or a regular snacking schedule. Limiting your child’s meal and snack portions as well as setting regular, consistent meal times is just as important as monitoring the foods your child eats. The shorter the time between meals, the more germs and bacteria that can accumulate inside your child’s mouth. With a child’s oral hygiene habit, the more food that gets accumulated in the mouth makes teeth cleaning and flossing harder. This increases the likelihood that those food particles can decay and lead to cavities.

It’s understandable that you want the best for your child and that you want their health to be top-notch. Ensuring that the health of their teeth and gums are equally important. Because parents misunderstand or underestimate the importance of their child’s oral hygiene, the risk for pediatric tooth decay, or cavities is high. A poor diet, the postponement of oral care and excessive snacking throughout the day are some of the biggest causes to childhood cavities.

Regardless of the age of your child, it is important to schedule regular visits to the dental office. If it has been more than six months since your child’s last appointment, it is recommended you schedule another one.

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