Dental Topics

Perinatal and Infant Oral Health

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that all women receive oral healthcare and counseling during pregnancy. Research studies have shown that periodontal disease can increase the risk of preterm birth and low birth weight. Talk to your doctor or dentist about ways you can prevent periodontal disease during pregnancy.

Mothers with poor oral health may be at greater risk of passing the bacteria which causes cavities to their young children. They should follow these simple steps to decrease the risk of spreading cavity-causing bacteria:
  • Visit your dentist regularly.
  • Brush and floss on a daily basis to reduce bacterial plaque.
  • Eat a healthy diet that limits beverages and foods high in sugar and starch.
  • Use a fluoridated toothpaste recommended by the ADA.
  • Do NOT share utensils, cups, or food which can cause the transmission of cavity-causing bacteria to your children.
  • Use a xylitol chewing gum (4 pieces per day by the mother) to decrease your child’s caries rate

Baby Bottle Tooth Decay (Early Childhood Caries)

One serious form of dental disease among young children is Baby Bottle Tooth decay. This condition is caused by frequent and long exposures of an infant’s teeth to liquids that contain sugar (milk including breast milk, formula, fruit juice, and other sweetened liquids). Putting a baby to bed with a bottle other than water can cause serious and rapid tooth decay. Sweet liquid pools around the child’s teeth giving plaque bacteria an opportunity to produce acids that attack tooth enamel.

After each bottle feeding, wipe your baby’s gums and teeth with a damp washcloth or gauze pad to remove plaque.

Sippy Cups

Sippy cups should be used as a training tool to transition your child from a bottle to a cup. If your child uses a sippy cup throughout the day, fill it with water and only put liquids that contain sugar such as milk and fruit juice in it at mealtimes. Sipping on sweetened liquids throughout the day leads to acidic plaque accumulation that breaks down tooth enamel.