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Are Toddlers Too Young for Cavities?

Are Toddlers Too Young for Cavities?

As your toddler’s first teeth start to emerge, their smile looks adorable and brightens up the room. However, lurking beneath that cute smile can be hidden tooth decay and cavities.

As soon as their first teeth emerge, children can get cavities. Keep reading to learn more from Staci Brunell, DMD, and Priyanka Patel, DMD, pediatric dentists at Yorktown Pediatric Dentistry in Yorktown Heights, New York, about preventing tooth decay in your toddler.

How do toddlers get cavities?

Your toddlers can get a cavity from the time they get their first baby tooth. The reasons young children develop tooth decay are similar to older children and adults.

The most common reasons for cavities in toddlers include:

In addition, toddlers can be more prone to cavities when you give them a bottle filled with milk or sugar to help them sleep. After falling asleep from drinking the bottle, the sugars from the milk or juice stay in your toddler’s mouth overnight or during the nap, causing additional tooth decay.

The importance of cavity prevention in toddlers

Your child’s first teeth are baby teeth. In a few years, they start falling out and making room for your child’s permanent, adult teeth.

Keeping baby teeth as healthy as possible is important, even though your child eventually loses them naturally. Baby teeth prepare your child’s mouth for permanent teeth, and keeping them healthy helps with reducing decay risk and promotes the correct spacing between adult teeth.

How to reduce your toddler’s cavity risk

Most of the factors that cause tooth decay in your child are preventable. You can significantly reduce your toddler’s likelihood of getting a cavity by taking a few easy steps.

You should start brushing your toddler’s teeth twice a day as soon as they start to get their first tooth. Use a toddler-sized toothbrush and a pea-sized amount of toothpaste with fluoride. You should also floss your child’s teeth twice a day.

At the same time, reduce the number of simple sugars in your child’s diet. Focus on a diet with limited added sugars, foods high in calcium and low in sugar, and drinking water instead of juice.

If your toddler goes to sleep with a juice or milk bottle, start using water instead. Your toddler can drink milk or healthy juices at meals instead.

It’s also important to be careful not to share saliva with your toddler, as your bacteria can cause tooth decay in young children. Use separate utensils and dishes.

Last but not least, your toddler needs to attend regular dental cleanings at Yorktown Pediatric Dentistry. Most young children benefit from cleanings twice per year.

Our team thoroughly cleans and checks your toddler’s teeth at dental cleanings. We catch tooth decay early and if needed, can fix the cavity with the most minimally invasive method possible.

Our team also helps you with your child’s dental routine to continue to prevent dental decay, and we are here for any questions.

Toddlers are at risk for tooth decay, but the right routines can keep it away completely. Contact us to schedule a dental cleaning or if you’re concerned your toddler might have a cavity.


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