There are only three areas that can be addressed to reduce the possibility of tooth decay: the teeth, the bacteria, and what feeds the bacteria.
1. The teeth can be made stronger by making the enamel stronger. Basically fluoride. It can be topical fluoride from toothpastes and fluoride rinses. Some people recommend “training toothpaste” for very young children. The key is to use smaller amounts of fluoridated toothpaste. If the child swallows some, they will not be affected by the small amount. The teeth are good at absorbing fluoride when they first erupt and that would be losing a prime opportunity to allow the enamel to get as hard as possible.
2. Getting bacteria off of the teeth starts with the moms having their teeth repaired and kept clean BEFORE the child is born. Dental decay is a bacterial disease and can be passed from person to person and the primary caregivers are the main source of inoculating the child with bad bacteria. If the caregiver has good teeth, the children have a much better chance to have good teeth. After that, brushing, flossing, and making it harder for the bacteria to stick to the teeth reduces the chance of decay. Brush the teeth as soon as they erupt into the mouth. Children will need help with this until the teeth start growing together. Making it harder for the bacteria to stick to the teeth can be done by xyletol-containing products. Gum, sprays, or candy are good sources. Xyletol makes it harder for the bacteria to stick to the teeth, and if they do, it interrupts the way they process sugars. As a bonus side effect, children have fewer ear infections.
3. Teeth can be assaulted by acids and sugars that increase the decay count. Several things can be done to change the odds in our favor. Limit things that have sugar or acid in between meals. That is soda, fruit juice, milk, or energy drinks. In between meals causes too much time that teeth are in the wrong environment. Water is the best in between meals.
Article submitted by All Family Dental in Eau Claire.