Preventing caries in young children »magazine»

Prevent tooth decay in young children

Please brush your teeth from the first tooth

Overall, it actually looks pretty good. Education, prophylaxis and timely treatment have led to a decrease in the number of carious teeth in all age groups – except for small children. Caries becomes even more common in children under three years of age. Often these are even advanced and difficult to treat tooth decay. Caries is bad and much worse in young children. Here’s what the problem is, how to prevent and prevent tooth decay in toddlers.

The parents are responsible for the dental health of the offspring in the first years of life. It is important to brush your teeth regularly so that tooth decay doesn’t stand a chance. In addition, little sweets should be on the menu and permanent sucking on squeezers or sweet tea should not be introduced at all.

About one in seven children between the ages of six and 30 months has tooth decay, often with several teeth. The tooth decay in the milk teeth, which are not even complete, is sometimes so bad that only small stubs are left of the small teeth, the gums are inflamed and bad breath occurs. For this reason, dentists are pushing for regular checks to be carried out as part of underground examinations as early as toddlers.

To prevent tooth decay in small children, first of all, education is necessary – and that with the parents. Because a one or two year old child is not yet responsible for his teeth!

Caries in toddlers: what’s the bad thing about it?

Unfortunately, it is not an isolated case: Dentists experience children with severe tooth decay in their practices again and again and more often. It is not just a “hole in the tooth”, but tooth decay is a bacterial infection that affects tooth enamel and, in an advanced stage, the dentin and nerve. With severely damaged milk teeth, the only option left is to remove them. However, since toddlers do not sit patiently and can simply have a tooth – possibly very sensitive to pain – pulled, general anesthesia is often required to remove the tooth. And every general anesthetic carries a risk that should be avoided, especially in young children.

Once the teeth have been removed, the problem is not eliminated: teeth are missing now, in the worst case the child is toothless until the permanent teeth grow back! The first permanent teeth usually come at the age of five or six years. It is not an art to calculate how many years the child has to live without teeth. It is a terrible idea. Apart from the fact that the child cannot chew and eat properly, language development can also be severely impaired by incomplete teeth. In addition, the jaw often develops with a delay or with misalignments because the milk teeth are missing as "placeholders". The psychological burden is also great, especially if the questions and looks of peers are added in preschool and early school age.

How can there be severe tooth decay in the milk teeth??

How can it get this far? Sweet things also taste good for small children. When parents or siblings eat biscuits, cakes or sweets, the baby often gets something wrong. Often, however, it starts even earlier: “Baby bottle caries” arises because parents fill their babies with sweet drinks in the baby bottle and – as with coffee-to-go – they are always ready and are constantly offered. Quetschies, the practical fruit puree from the bag, are also not good for the teeth. Frequent snacking and drinking from time to time means that the small teeth are constantly surrounded by sugar. If you are constantly sucking, please only with water or with unsweetened tea! At the same time, this even has a cleaning effect.

It is particularly fatal to give babies a bottle with a sweet drink to fall asleep. Because then the bacteria have all night to eat and multiply the sugar. By the way: Breast milk also contains sugar. Even if breastfeeding is nice and practical for falling asleep – it can also promote tooth decay, so that the term “breastfeeding caries” is justified as well. Especially when the baby is a little older and is also getting solid food. If it is really necessary to "suck into sleep" after brushing your teeth, then the following also applies here: Please only with water!

Prophylaxis and education to prevent tooth decay in young children

The Federal Joint Committee of Doctors, Dentists and Health Insurance Funds sees a need for action and advocates regular dental check-ups as part of the so-called U-examinations. A look at the teeth is already one of the ten examinations that are intended for children in the first six years of life. However, pediatricians are not dentists and cannot carry out treatments on teeth. So that it doesn’t just go to the dentist with your child, dentist visits should be included in the U-examinations.

On the one hand, these visits to the dentist, the first of which should take place at around six months, are about taking a look at the first teeth. However, the focus is on educating and advising parents. Because they are the ones who have to look after their children’s teeth and oral health in order to prevent tooth decay in small children.

What you can do yourself to prevent tooth decay in toddlers

With common sense and a few simple rules, you can prevent and prevent tooth decay in your toddler.

  • Avoid soda, iced tea or other sweetened drinks in the baby bottle. Some baby teas also contain sugar. And even in juices there is a lot of fructose. Therefore, these are only suitable to a limited extent. Only water and unsweetened herbal teas are recommended for calming you down when you fall asleep.
  • Avoid "constant sucking". Instead, let your child drink less but properly instead. Fruit, cookies and sweets should only be offered as a small meal and should not always be ready in between. After a meal, it is advisable to rinse with a little water, unless a toothbrush is at hand.
  • Brush your child’s teeth in the evening – even if it’s just one or two. This doesn’t have to be a two-minute brushing with toothpaste, but children can’t learn the ritual of scrubbing their teeth with their teeth early enough. If the child can hold the brush himself, he can of course also clean it himself. However, you should brush up a little – and please do so until school age. Only when you are around eight or nine can you assume that your child will also clean the molars all around.
  • From around the second birthday, brushing your teeth in the morning is an integral part of the daily schedule. If the daycare is also cleaned at lunchtime: all the better, because it helps the teeth to regenerate.
  • Even if the dentist comes to the nursery and elementary school for a check-up: take your child with you to your dentist when you are two or three years old. This has more time and better conditions to look closely and can treat small damaged areas immediately. It is also good if the child does not get painful treatment the first time, but is able to get to know the dentist’s chair and the environment without bias.
  • If you suspect or discover discoloration on your child’s tooth, please go to the dentist as soon as possible. Because tooth decay, which is already visible, usually sits deeper!

Disclaimer only provides contributions for information purposes. The instructions and information are not suitable for self-treatment. They do not replace personal interviews, professional advice, individual examinations or professional treatment by trained and recognized healthcare professionals such as: B. doctors, pharmacists, midwives or physiotherapists.

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