Now more than ever before, children are eating more processed foods that are high in carbohydrates, along with an increase in juice and soda. These foods can lead to sugar-feeding bacteria on teeth, causing the enamel to erode and ultimately leading to a cavity. Tooth decay can happen in children who are still toddlers, so it’s important to protect against cavities by taking steps early on in your child’s life.
- Avoid juice at bedtime. Juice bathes your child’s teeth in sugar, so try to limit juice to only 6 ounces each day. And if your child asks for a drink before bed, choose water. If your child uses a sippy cup, make it a goal to wean him or her from it by 12 months.
- Brush and floss. Getting into the habit of brushing and flossing your toddler’s teeth sets the stage for good oral hygiene habits into the future. From birth to 12 months, you can clean your baby’s mouth by gently wiping the gums with a clean washcloth. Once you start see teeth coming in, clean your toddler’s teeth by using a soft-bristled brush twice a day, along with fluoride toothpaste, and brushing at a 45-degree angle with gentle strokes.
- Limit sweet and stick foods. Fruit snacks, cookies, candy and the like can provide a breeding ground for sugar-eating bacteria. Choose snacks that are low in sugar like string cheese or low-fat crackers.
- Visit the dentist before age one. This initial visit will help you acclimate your child to the environment of a dentist office, as well as give you and your dentist the opportunity to discuss how to properly care for your child’s teeth and what to expect in the coming months. He or she will also take a look at your toddler’s mouth to determine if there are any concerns that should be addressed.
If you are interested in learning more about how to lay the groundwork for a healthy mouth for your toddler, we welcome the opportunity to meet with you. To schedule an appointment, please contact Scott T. LeSueur, DDS & Charles A Dodaro, DDS online or by calling our Mesa office at (480) 834-6991 today. We serve Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe, and all surrounding Arizona communities.