Protecting Baby Teeth
The rate of cavities in baby teeth is on the rise, according to the most recent report on the topic from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In fact, a whopping 28 percent of children 2 to 5 years old have cavities.
Dentists point to several factors contributing to the rise, including increased consumption of juices and soda.
And while baby teeth will eventually wind up with the Tooth Fairy, it's still important to care for them as though they are permanent teeth, with one major difference.
"Parents of young children should steer clear of fluoride toothpastes for their kids until their child has the ability to spit out the toothpaste," said Dr. Theodorou of Glen Ridge Family Dental.
Fluoride is an effective tool in the prevention of cavities, but in young children who do not have the ability to spit out the toothpaste, the consumption of too much fluoride can have a negative side effect known as fluorosis. This can result in unsightly spotting of the permanent teeth.
"It is estimated that kids under 4 swallow between one-third and two-thirds of the toothpaste they use when brushing their teeth," said Dr. Theodorou.
It is therefore recommended that youngsters brush their teeth using a non-fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride-free products such as Baby Orajel Tooth & Gum Cleanser (recommended for babies 4 months and older) and Orajel Toddler Training Toothpaste (recommended for toddlers and children up to age 4) are safe if swallowed when used as directed.
"Using a non-fluoride toothpaste still allows a caregiver to remove the plaque that builds up on teeth, as well as helping to establish a pattern for life of good oral care habits," said Dr. Theodorou.
Other tips for encouraging good oral care health at a young age:
* Select a toothbrush with soft bristles
* Encourage your toddler to engage in brushing his teeth twice a day
* Bring along a "friend" to the bathroom sink - such as a favorite stuffed animal or doll - so the "friend" can also have her teeth brushed
* Encourage toddlers to drink plenty of water after meals. This is especially important with toddlers who won't allow parents to brush their teeth as often as recommended.
For more information, visit www.babyorajel.com.
Categories: Children's Health
, Health & Wellness
, baby teeth
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