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A Reminder to Parents: Early Dental Visits Essential to Children's Health
Date:2/4/2008

ms that can be easily treated in the early stages, when damage is minimal.

Early Childhood Caries (Baby Bottle Tooth Decay)

Baby bottle tooth decay can destroy children's teeth. It occurs when a child is frequently exposed to sugary liquids such as milk, fruit juice and other sweet liquids. The ADA recommends the following steps to prevent your child from getting early childhood caries.

-- Begin oral care early. Wipe the baby's gums with a wet washcloth or a clean gauze pad after each feeding.

-- Babies and toddlers should finish their naptime and bedtime bottles before going to bed. Never allow your baby or toddler to fall asleep with a bottle containing milk, formula, fruit juices or sweetened liquids OR a pacifier dipped in sugar or honey.

-- Encourage children to drink from a cup by their first birthday.

-- Don't let children constantly sip on sugary liquids (including milk and juice) from training (sippy) cups. Offer these liquids at mealtimes.

-- Help your child develop good eating habits early and choose nutritious snacks.

Dental Sealants

Sealants are used to protect the chewing surfaces from tooth decay, the single most common chronic childhood disease. Your dentist can help prevent or reduce the incidence of decay by applying sealants to your child's teeth. A sealant is a clear or tooth-colored plastic material that is applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth where decay occurs most often. Sealants protect normal depressions and grooves in the teeth called pits and fissures, which are particularly susceptible to tooth decay.

Mouth Protectors

Any child involved in a recreational activity, such as soccer, hockey, football, roller blading, riding a scooter and even bicycling should wear a mouth guard. There are "stock" mouth guards available in stores and a better-fitting variety, which are custom fitted by your dentist. Ask your dentist about using a mouth pr
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SOURCE American Dental Association
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