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Is Your Child at Risk for Early Childhood Tooth Decay?

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The typically healthy adult visits the dentist at least two times each year. But according to dentist Columbia Dr. Gregory Wych, the average healthy 2-year-old has never seen the dentist, and by the time they start kindergarten, 25 percent of children have never been to a dentist, while dental decay is the single most common long-lasting childhood disease in the country.

So what is the cause? It’s a combination of misinformation regarding when a child should make their first dental appointment, when a parent should begin seriously caring for their child’s teeth and the recurrent and long-term exposure of sugary liquids to a child’s teeth.

dentist ColumbiaA child’s first visit to their dentist Columbia should ideally be scheduled six months after the development of the child’s first tooth. During this first exam, the dentist can provide the parents with information regarding the best way to guard against childhood tooth decay. This includes cleaning the child’s teeth with a damp cloth after each feeding and limiting their consumption of sugary beverages.

Baby teeth are important because they reserve the spot for permanent teeth to develop and help direct them into correct position. Severely decayed teeth may need to be pulled, which could have an adverse effect on the development of a child’s permanent teeth, speech and chewing.

Tips from your Dentist Columbia to decrease the risk of early childhood tooth decay:

  • Wean a child from the bottle or breast by age 1 at the latest;
  • Don’t use spill-proof cups as a long-term solution;
  • Use a straw to drink sugary beverages;
  • Wipe your baby’s gums with a damp cloth after each feeding
  • Introduce your child to brushing with a soft-bristle brush and water when the first tooth appears.
  • Add a pea-sized dab of fluoridated toothpaste to the toothbrush by age 2.

dentist Columbia