Tooth decay is when the enamel (outer layer of the teeth) gets destructed or broken, leading to the formation of holes or cavities in the teeth.
When bacteria and foods containing sugar and starch get accumulated in the teeth, it leads to plaque formation. The acid-forming bacteria in the plaque are the major reason for tooth decay as the teeth get eaten up by the acid that’s released by these bacteria.
Rampant decay of teeth in children is very common and can cause pain, infection and low self esteem in the child.
A few of the factors that can increase the risk of tooth decay include:
- Eating food with high sugar and starch content
- Bad oral and dental hygiene
- Consuming sugar-containing medications
- Fluoride deficiency
- Low saliva production
To prevent tooth decay in your babies:
- Don’t allow the baby to sleep with a bottle in mouth.
- Brush your baby’s teeth daily, twice a day from the time the first tooth appears in the mouth.
- Use a rice grain sized fluoride containing toothpaste to brush the teeth.
- Avoid filling juices and sugary liquids in feeding bottles. Minimize intake of sugary drinks.
- Teach your baby to drink from a cup rather than a bottle after 18 to 24 months of age.
- Brush your baby’s teeth at night after feeding.
- Clean the teeth which touch each other with floss.
- Teach your baby to rinse their mouth with water and make them do it after every meal, especially after eating or drinking anything sugary.
- Give equal attention to cleaning the baby’s tongue.
- Have a balanced nutritious and fibre-rich diet for your baby.
- Go for a dental visit every 6months.
- Make your baby drink plenty of water during the day.
- The baby’s first dental visit should be when the first tooth appears or when he/she turns 1 year old whichever is sooner.