Did you know that caries is a preventable and controllable disease? Caries is currently the most common chronic infectious disease during childhood, five times more common than asthma and seven times more common than hay fever. It is a serious public health problem that may have severe repercussions in the baby's and the child's general health.

Caries is a multifactorial infectious disease, which means an interplay of various factors causes it. The most common during childhood are:

  • Belated visits to the dentist
  • Dental characteristics: a small amount of children have enamel defects in their milk teeth (hypoplasia) caused by some alteration during their formation (in the womb), making their surface more vulnerable to caries. (Enamel Hypoplasia)
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Early bacterial transmission: the possibility of an early transmission of bacteria from the mother/father's saliva and increase the baby’s caries risk.
  • Nocturnal feeding: during sleep, there is almost no salivary flow, so this moment is the most susceptible to bacterial attack. In case of continuing breastfeeding or the bottle, you must try to clean your baby's teeth after nocturnal feeding.
  • Incorrect nutritious habits: a highly cariogenic diet, especially between meals, multiplies the possibility of developing early childhood caries.
  • Children with constant and/or prolonged medication: many paediatric medicines (antibiotics, corticosteroids, flu medicines, etc) contain high sugar content, turning medicated children into high-risk caries patients who must be monitored more frequently. These medications also have an effect on salivation and the natural protection offered by the saliva is diminished. Also these medications may cause hypoplasia in permanent teeth
  • There are certain dental anatomies (morphology) that favour and increase the risk of caries. For this special type of tooth morphology, pit and fissure sealants are excellent measures to prevent food retention and caries.
  • Insufficient exposure to fluorides: the use of topical fluoride has been very effective in increasing the teeth's resistance to bacterial attack, especially in high-risk patients.

Our recommendations so that your child will never suffer from caries are:  

  • Perform a correct oral hygiene from the moment your baby is born. Ask your paediatric dentist how to do it, according to your child's age.
  • Avoid bacterial transmission to his/her mouth
    • Do not share cutlery with your baby (toothbrushes, spoons, etc.), especially during the first 2 years of life.
    • Do not clean the pacifier with your saliva when it gets dirty.
    • Do not cool the soup by blowing directly on the baby's spoon or kiss him/her directly on the mouth during the first year of life
    • Do not allow the baby's siblings or cousins kiss him/her directly in the mouth
    • Do not allow your pets to lick the baby's face.
    • Avoid nocturnal feeding after the first milk tooth erupts.
    • Avoid cariogenic foods (cookies, sweet/soft bread, pastries, industrialized juices, chocolate, ice cream, etc.) especially during the first two years.
    • Visit the paediatric dentist during your baby's first year of life, to advice you on his/her caries risk and to apply the necessary preventive measures.
    • Ask the paediatric dentist about the benefits of application of topical fluoride in the enamel of milk teeth and about pit and fissure sealants, according to your child's risk of caries.
  • » Sealants
    • The grooves and depressions that form the chewing surfaces of the back teeth are extremely difficult (if not impossible) to clean of bacteria and food. As the bacteria reacts with the food, acids form and break down the tooth enamel, causing cavities. Recent studies indicate that 88 percent of total cavities in American school children are caused this way.

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  • » Fluoride
    • Fluoride is a substance that helps teeth become stronger and resistant to decay. Fluoride has proved to be a safe and effective method to reduce the prevalence of caries in the world and stop enamel’s demineralization. Currently fluoride should be applied topically and in small but frequent doses. Visit your pediatric dentist for getting recommendations on fluoride use for children.