Though we don’t often think about it, youngsters as young as 9 or 10 months of age can be infected with cavity producing bacteria, which can cause tooth decay. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that almost 20% of children 2-5 have untreated cavities, and the percentage rises in kids over 6.
Tooth decay, if left undetected or untreated in youngsters can result in poor eating habits, delayed speech development, and create an unhealthy environment for permanent tooth development. Healthy baby teeth lead to healthier permanent teeth later in life.
Mothers who observe preventive dental and oral care during prenatal and postnatal periods can better guard her child against tooth decay. Parents and care providers should not prop a bottle for their baby in a crib or car seat, forego nighttime bottle or breastfeeding, and go over their child’s teeth with a cloth or soft baby toothbrush as soon as they erupt.
Pediatric dentists counsel taking your child to his initial dental appointment when the first tooth breaks through. He will be examined and you can commence reviewing dental sealants and other preventative measures.
“Untreated Dental Caries in Children,” CDC.gov, February 9, 2011,http://www.cdc.gov/Features/dsUntreatedCavitiesKids/, accessed on February 6, 2012
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