Did you know, babies' mouth also need much care and attention right from when they have their first tooth? Baby teeth are very important; if the baby teeth are lost too early, the teeth that are left may get misaligned and may not leave any room for adult teeth to come in. Also, if tooth decay is not treated well, it can cause pain and lead to life-threatening infections.
Tooth decay (called early childhood caries) is one of the most common diseases of childhood. It is essential to begin healthy dental habits early as tooth decay can develop as soon as the first tooth comes in.
Tooth decay develops when acid-producing bacteria infect a baby's mouth. This bacteria can be passed on to babies from parents and caregivers. For example, the bacteria is spread by sharing saliva on spoons or cups, testing foods before feeding them to babies and cleaning off a pacifier in the parent's or caregiver's mouth.
Exposing the child's teeth and gums to any liquid or food other than water for long periods can also result in tooth decay. The sugars present in the liquid or food are changed to acid by bacteria in the mouth, and this acid can dissolve the enamel of the teeth, causing them to decay.
The first signs of tooth decay are white spots at the gum line on the upper front teeth, which are hardly visible without proper equipment. Therefore, it is essential to have your child's teeth examined by a pediatric dentist at least twice a year to stop the decay from spreading and prevent further damage.
The following steps can help to prevent tooth decay in babies: