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5 Tips to Prevent Baby Bottle Tooth Decay and Your Dental 911 Toolkit

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We have to take care of our babies’ teeth! February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, and a great time to start healthy habits for your baby, toddler and beyond. Check out these easy tips to keep your baby’s teeth healthy from an early age and what to do if you have a dental emergency.

African Americans and Dental Health: Lessons for Every Black Mom

 

5 Tips to Prevent Baby Bottle Tooth Decay and Your Dental Emergency Toolkit

  

Nobody likes the dentist. But nobody wants to be a “yuck mouth” either. Listen up, black women! Dental health is important. Among adults aged 35 to 44 years, 40% of African Americans have tooth decay as compared to 23% of Whites.  We also have the lowest rates of annual dental visits.

 

According to the Office of Minority Health, 30% of African Americans have annual dental visits, as compared to 50% of the White population.  That’s not good news for black children. Twenty six percent of our kids, ages 2 to 4, have had some sort of cavity or decay in their primary teeth, compared to 20% for whites. African American children are 40% less likely to have preventive dental sealants than do their White classmates.  The percentage of people of all ages who had untreated cavities was substantially higher for African Americans than for Whites.   

 

Good news, February is is National Children’s Dental Health Month and many people are unaware of the important role early dental care plays in children’s overall health.  The ADA recommends that parents take action early to insure the health of their children’s teeth because attitudes and habits established at an early age are critical in maintaining good oral health throughout life.   Check out these tips to prevent baby bottle decay and what to do in common dental emergencies.  

 

* Dental VisitsThe ADA recommends regular dental check-ups, including a visit to the dentist within six months of the eruption of the first tooth, and no later than the child’s first birthday. Preventive care such as cleanings and fluoride treatment provide your child with "smile" insurance. Routine dental exams uncover problems that can be treated in the early stages, when damage is minimal and restorations may be small. When necessary, X-rays are taken to see how the teeth are developing and to spot hidden decay.  

 

* Early Childhood Caries (Baby Bottle Tooth Decay)

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

o Begin clearing your baby’s mouth during the first few days after birth. After every feeding, wipe the baby’s gums with a damp washcloth or gauze pad to remove plaque.   o Never allow your child to nurse or breast feed for prolonged periods and don’t give him or her a bottle with milk, formula, sugar water or fruit juice during naps or at night in bed.  o Encourage children to drink from a cup by their first birthday.  o Discourage frequent use of a training cup.  o Help your child develop good eating habits early and choose sensible, nutritious snacks.  

 

 * 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 protector. There are "stock" mouth protectors available in stores and a better-fitting variety, which are custom fitted by your dentist.

Ask your dentist about using a mouth protector.   

 

* Dental EmergenciesKnowing how to handle your child’s dental emergency can mean the difference between saving or losing a tooth. The ADA recommends the following tips on what to do for your child in case of:  

 

Knocked-Out Tooth: Hold the tooth by the crown and rinse off the root of the tooth in water if it’s dirty. Do not scrub it or remove any attached tissue fragments. If possible, gently insert and hold the tooth in its socket. If that isn’t possible, put the tooth in a cup of milk and get to the dentist as quickly as possible. Remember to take the tooth with you!  

 

Toothache: Rinse your mouth with warm water to clean it out. Gently use dental floss or an interdental cleaner to ensure that there is no food or other debris caught between the teeth. Never put aspirin or any other painkiller against the gums near the aching tooth because it may burn the gum tissue. If the pain persists, contact your dentist.  

 

Bitten Lip or Tongue: Clean the area gently with a cloth and apply cold compresses to reduce any swelling. If the bleeding doesn’t stop, go to a hospital emergency room immediately. 

 

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