While babies aren’t born with harmful, plaque-building bacteria in their mouths, by the age of 2, if not earlier, they acquire acids and germs that develop plaque and begin to break down the enamel of their teeth. Cavities can develop as soon as the child’s teeth begin to emerge, at between 6 and 12 months of age.
Where does this come from?
There are multiple sources. Plaque and bacteria develop through the breakdown of food and liquids into acids. This then begins the lifelong process.
Studies have also shown another source. In many cases streptococcus, a type of plaque-building bacteria, is transmitted from the child’s parents or family. Saliva can be spread by sharing Saliva , toothbrushes, and through other means. Then the potential cavities and oral problems of the parent can be passed along to the child.
Infant dental care . . . why should you be concerned?
It is generally believed that young children are healthy and have no need to see the dentist in Cambridge until they reach age 3. Unfortunately, by this point an infant’s emerging teeth may already have developed cavities, or worse; the child may have caries.
Early childhood caries is a common disease that can develop as soon as the teeth appear. Once the child acquires streptococcus it will begin metabolizing the sugars in milk and other foods, producing acid that will eat away at the infant’s growing teeth, leaving cavities and pain. This tooth decay may be visible as early as 10 months of age. So along with well-child visits, make sure your children receive appropriate dental checkups for caries and other early childhood dental needs.
Ultimately the child’s major dental concerns throughout life will be determined by their daily oral care, diet, and eating habits. But giving your children a healthy start until they are able to care for themselves is essential.
To ensure your children have a place they feel comfortable and a smile they are proud of, bring them into Fresh Pond Dental in Cambridge for a consultation.