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Anticipatory Guidance

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sushantpatel_doc's picture
Joined: 30 Nov 2009

The important thing to understand about childrens' teeth is that most dental problems can be avoided through prevention. Learning some basic skills for taking care of your child's teeth, and what to expect from their dental development is generally the goal of early dental visits, and is often referred to as anticipatory guidance.

Tooth decay (also called cavities and dental caries) is a bacterial illness that destroys the teeth by dissolving them in acids—like those produced by Streptococcus mutans bacteria as a byproduct of sugar metabolism. However, acids found in fruit juice, soda pop, and other dietary sources can dissolve tooth structure directly.

Minimizing the child's exposure to carbohydrates (including breads, cereals and pastas) and acids is the most important step that can be taken to avoid cavities. When such foods are ingested, removing the acids and restoring the normal mouth pH is very important to prevent cavities from occurring. Early dental visits can be useful to demonstrate how best to take care of your child's mouth and teeth.

It's important that babies and young children not be put to bed with a bottle containing anything but water. Milk and fruit juice produces a phenomenon called "baby bottle tooth decay". This is also called "nursing caries", and "bottle rot."

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