Look after them!
Sadly, it is a very frequent and worldwide problem, which - if not treated on time - can cause serious issues for children in the long run. It could however be quite easily avoided.
Cavities are caused by a bacteria called Streptococcus mutans which feasts on carbohydrates. During the process it produces acids which weaken the enamel that eventually leads to tooth decay. Usually it appears on the upper front teeth first in the form of a white spot which later turns into a darker brown discoloration and develops into a hole in the end.
The bacteria (Streptococcus mutans) can be passed onto the infant by the mother or an elder brother or sister. However, eating habits and dental hygiene are just as important contibuting factors.
Those children who consume sugar or sugary drinks and food very often are at bigger risk at developing cavities. A lot of children are seen drinking from sippy cups constantly which are filled with sugary drinks by the parents. This way their teeth are constantly exposed to acid attacks. The issue continues to deteriorate when the toddler is not tought to brush their teeth from the very beginning therefore the child does not develop the habit of maintaining a good dental hygiene.
Ways of prevention
The first step is leading by example and making sure that the teeth of the parents are well maintained. This way the chances of passing on the bacteria can be minimized. So parents need to make sure they pay good attention to dental hygene and they get treatment for their decaying teeth.
Secondly, it is important to develop healthy eating habits. We need to make sure that children are not sucking on sippy cups constantly, or at least give them sugar-free drinks. We should teach our children to use glasses for drinking as soon as possible.
All children love sweets but in case of infants and toddlers the quantity consumed is controlled by the parent. Let’s make sure we give them sugary treats as rarely as possible.
When infants start teething, many parents give them bread rolls or baby biscuits to chew on. This should be replaced by fresh tender vegetables, or teething toys particulary designed for this purpose made of plastic or silicone rubber.
Children can be trained for brushing teeth even before the appearance of the first teeth. Special toothbrushes exist for this purpose made without bristles, only to massage the little gums and help to develop good habits and so help to protect the future teeth.
It’s important to use toothpaste that’s suitable for the age of the child. Toothpastes contain fluoride which strengthens teeth and manufacturers include the adequate proportion for each age group depending on the development stage. Toothpaste should not be used on babies younger than the age of two though, because babies cannot expectorate (spit it out).