Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Toddler Teeth: Keeping Those Pearly Whites Cavity Free!

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.)
  • Cheese
  • 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.


Maggie said...

Ah, but how does one get the toddler to brush? My 20 month old is very resistant. I brush with her. I try to make in fun, but in the end I just insist. Still I can't imagine doing it after every snack. Not realistic.

General said...

I use XyliGel for my son. It's a pure Xylitol Gel, which creates a alkaline pH in the mouth and therefore fights plaque and tooth decay.
He loves it, too! It is sweet like sugar and tastes like strawberry.
Found it online at
You can also buy Xylitol at the health food store and put it in their water or tea during the day.
Works great and is a natural sugar substitute.

Ed said...

Hmm. It's hard to avoid putting a baby to bed with a bottle of milk when he or she is going to sleep. There are some babies who can sleep while sipping on their bottles of milk. So if that's the case, what are the ways to prevent tooth decay among babies and toddlers?

Ed Hochhalter