Keeping Toddlers Teeth Healthy


ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Most toddlers have a full set of 20 primary teeth by the time they turn three. But how can you ensure that those pearly whites are healthy and strong? Well, we have some very important advice for parents.

Your little one’s smile can light up a room. But how do you keep those baby teeth in tip-top shape? First: start brushing … right away!

Jason Bresler, DMD, pediatric dentist says, “As soon as a tooth erupts, we should start brushing their teeth.”

Use a small smear of fluoride toothpaste that’s about the size of a grain of rice. Brush twice a day, morning and night. Typically, adults should do the brushing for children under age seven. When your toddler has two teeth that touch, floss daily. Also, find a dentist by age one. A CDC report found dental care costs are nearly 40 percent lower over a five-year period for kids who see a dentist by age five. And don’t put babies or toddlers to bed with juice or milk.

“Those sugars from the milk or juice basically coat the teeth, and it’s a 24-hour buffet for bacteria in the mouth,” Dr. Bresler continued.

It’s a good idea to limit juice to no more than four ounces a day. Also, lose the pacifier by age two or three. It can affect how your child’s teeth line up and change the shape of their mouth.

Another thing to watch out for is children’s medicines. Many are sugary and stick to teeth. Others can cause an overgrowth of yeast, which can lead to a fungal infection. If your child is on a medicine for a long period of time, talk to your dentist about how often you should brush and other precautions to take.

Contributors to this news report include: Julie Marks, Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.

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REPORT #2507


BACKGROUND: Children begin to get their baby teeth during the first 6 months of life. By age 6 or 7 years, they start to lose their first set of teeth, which eventually are replaced by permanent teeth. Without proper dental care, children face possible oral decay and disease that can cause a lifetime of pain and complications. Many of the same treatment and evaluation options that adults have are also available to kids. These include X-rays, dental sealants, orthodontic treatment and more. Twenty times more common than diabetes and five times more common than childhood asthma, tooth decay should be an important focus of your attention as you look to maintain your children’s health, according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD). Cavities can develop when sugar-containing foods are allowed to stay in the mouth for a long time. Bacteria that live on the teeth feast on these bits of food and can eat away at tooth enamel. Saliva washes away the acid between meals, but if your child is always eating, there may not be time for this acid to get washed away.

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TOOTH DECAY AND PREVENTION: The most common signs and symptoms of tooth decay and dental infections may include white spots on the teeth that appear first. Then, an early cavity appears that has a light brown color on the tooth. The tooth color progressively becomes darker and a hole may appear. Symptoms, such as sensitivity to sweets and cold beverages or foods may occur. Some preventative measures to take are to start brushing your child’s teeth as soon as the first one appears. Brush the teeth, tongue, and gums twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, or supervise them brushing their teeth. For children less than 3 years old, use only a small amount of toothpaste, about the size of a grain of rice. Then, starting at 3 years of age, use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. Be sure to floss your child’s teeth daily after age 2, and make sure your child eats a well-balanced diet and limit or eliminate sugary snacks. It is recommended to schedule routine exams for your child by age one. And, ask about dental sealants and fluoride varnish, which are both applied to the teeth.


CAVITY-CAUSING BREAKTHROUGH: University of Alabama researchers have devised a way to keep the bacteria that causes tooth decay from lingering on our teeth by stopping their ability to cling in the first place. Streptococcus mutans is the bacteria that causes cavities. It creates decay by depositing a sticky biofilm on our teeth. It eats away at our tooth enamel while it produces lactic acid. Scientists have developed an S. mutans biofilm inhibitor which selectively prevents this bacteria from developing the sticky biofilm. The biofilm inhibitor targets a couple of enzymes that allow the bacteria to adhere to teeth. It chemically stops the bacterial invasion. When rats had their teeth treated twice daily for four weeks, there was a significant reduction in enamel and dentinal caries. “If we have something that can selectively take away the bacteria’s ability to form biofilms, that would be a tremendous advance,” said Sadanandan Velu, PhD, associate professor of chemistry in the UAB College of Arts and Sciences, and a lead researcher in the study. Researchers say their product can likely be developed into therapeutic drugs to effectively prevent and treat dental caries.


 * For More Information, Contact:

 Jason Bresler, DMD                                                              Mary Parra, Public Relations                                          

(215) 906-4704                                                                      (928) 853-4733