We have made great strides in improving the oral health of or children, but much more needs to be done, especially in the area of prevention. Did you know that 25% of all school age children have five or more decayed, filled or missing teeth? Fluoride is most important in preventing dental decay. There’s no question about this. However, only one-half of the U.S. population have access to water supplies that are adequately fluoridated. All children starting at two weeks should receive fluoride supplements. The amount of fluoride to be given depends on a number of factors, including whether or not the water in your community is fluoridated and how much water your baby drinks each day. Discuss this with your baby’s doctor. Other ways of preventing dental decay include limiting the amount of refined sugar you feed and never allowing your baby to lie down sucking on a bottle of milk or juice. The sugar will pool in her mouth and destroy her teeth. If your baby needs a bottle to help her sleep, use only pure water.
Dr. Alvin Eden is chairman of the department of pediatrics at Wyckoff Heights Hospital in Brooklyn and associate clinical professor of pediatrics at Cornell University Medical Center. Dr. Eden has authored several books including “Positive Parenting” and “Healthy Kids”.