Tooth decay has been increasing in toddler teeth--a trend that has dentists worry that they may also have a likelihood of more lifelong tooth decay.
Until 2004, the prevalence of tooth decay in toddlers aged 2-5 had dropped, but a study released in 2007 showed that it's now increasing. Experts suspect the increase in tooth decay is from too much sugar in the diet. Some toddlers have a steady stream of juice, juice drinks and milk flowing over the teeth during the day--in essence creating a "sugar bath" that is prime plaque making material. Below are some tips to keep toddler teeth healthy and cavity free:
- Brush after every meal and snack. Getting kids into this healthy habit can lead to a lifetime of healthy teeth.
- Limit sweet drinks--like juice as well as juice drinks, etc. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests toddlers limit their juice drinking to 4-6 ounces per day.
- Don't put baby into bed with a bottle of milk, formula, breast milk or juice.
- Especially watch out for drinks that have a combination of added sugar and citric acid--like sports drinks, enhanced waters and lemonade, for example.
- Toddlers should visit their dentist regularly--starting at one year.
- When teeth start touching, start flossing!
Give Your Child These Tooth Friendly Snacks:
- Crunchy raw fruit and vegetables, like carrots and celery (if they are too hard to chew, steam slightly to avoid a choking hazard.)
- Nuts and nut butters (again a choking hazard for kids under 5)
- Make water the drink of choice at snack time-or make a juice spritzer by adding plain club soda to juice.
- Always brush teeth after eating and drinking caloric drinks.