Home > Health & Wellness > Health Library > Preventing Tooth Decay in Young Children
Tooth decay, called dental
caries, is caused by bacteria eating away the outer
protective layer (enamel) of a tooth. Help prevent tooth decay in young
children by adopting the following healthy habits:
Normal amounts of fluoride added to public water supplies and bottled water are safe for children and adults. If your child needs extra fluoride, your dentist may recommend supplements. Use these supplements only as directed. And keep them out of reach of your child. Too much fluoride can be toxic and can stain a child's teeth.
When your child's first teeth come in, start cleaning them with a soft cloth or gauze pad. As more teeth come in, clean teeth with a soft toothbrush. Because too much fluoride can be toxic and can stain a child's teeth, ask your doctor or dentist if it's okay to use fluoride toothpaste. For more information, see the topic Brushing and Flossing a Child's Teeth.
Committee on Nutrition, American Academy of Pediatrics (2001, reaffirmed 2006). The use and misuse of fruit juice in pediatrics. Pediatrics, 107(5): 1210–1213. Also available online: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/107/5/1210.full.
June 7, 2013
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Steven K. Patterson, BS, DDS, MPH - Dentistry
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