Has my child lost tooth enamel?

November 14, 2014

Those pearly whites looking less pearly these days? Here’s what you should know about the loss of your child’s tooth enamel and dental erosion.
It’s hard to think of your child’s little perfect teeth looking anything less than…well, white and perfect. But in fact, dental erosion and a loss of tooth enamel can happen in young children.

The enamel on your child’s teeth is the hard, outside white coating that protects the inside dentine of the teeth. If the enamel is worn down or washes of acid erode the layer of enamel on the teeth, it can become sensitive and even painful. Not only can your child possibly feel it, but you might be able to see the yellower dentine inside the teeth. And yes, this can happen to baby teeth.

And while drinks such as sugary juices can wear away at the enamel, so can other factors, like grinding or clenching, which your child may even be doing in their sleep.
How can I protect the enamel?
Like adults, it largely depends on how we take care of the teeth. So drinks such as sugary juices can erode the enamel, as can sugary medicines — think chewable vitamins and painkillers. While tooth enamel can hardenan hour or so after consuming an acidic drink, it’s best to limit these types of foods and drinks in your child’s diet.

Instead encourage them to drink water and milk (which also has natural sugars in it), but as soon as possible, transition your child to drinking from a cup rather than a bottle. That way, the drink doesn’t keep washing over their teeth. If they do drink juice, you might want to water it down or try serving it to them using a cup with a straw (if they’re old enough). That way, the juice bypasses the teeth and goes right to the back of the throat.
The importance of brushing
Even when they’re very young, start cleaning your child’s teeth to protect them. If your child is under the age of 18 months, opt for a soft toothbrush and a non-fluoridated toothpaste. After 18 months, they can switch to fluoridated toothpaste and should also start working on flossing.

Having trouble doing their teeth? Play dentist by sitting on the floor and having them lie backwards with their head in your lap. Not only do they like looking at you upside down, but you have full access to their mouths.

Has my child lost tooth enamel?
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