The first birthday celebrates the most important time in the entire life of your teeth. By a child’s first birthday, front incisor teeth provide a surface for plaque germs to grow and multiply. As baby molars erupt in the second year of life, grooves in their biting surfaces quickly become infected with the resident mouth germs. Studies show that if healthy germs enter these grooves, they multiply there and dominate the mouth, protecting teeth from decay. On the other hand, if harmful germs get into these grooves, they can cause cavities, first in baby teeth and later in the adult teeth. Pediatric studies show that children with healthy teeth at 4 years old are 80 percent more likely to have good teeth for life.
Knowing this means the following:
- The health of baby molars is important for the future health of a child’s mouth.
- Ensure a child’s mouth is healthy by the first birthday (before baby molars erupt) and you will be protecting your child’s oral health – possibly for life.
- The first year of life is the best time to stop cavities – with just a little xylitol each day.
A solution of granular xylitol crystals in water can be wiped or brushed over baby teeth, or a child can sip a little xylitol dissolved in water or milk. The secret is to use a little every day. Sprinkle xylitol on fruit or yogurt as a dessert, or use a Zellie's Mint to protect teeth after eating or drinking. Xylitol is ideal before sleep or nap time, and after eating or drinking sugary or sticky foods.
Recent studies show that the quantity of xylitol used for an infant or toddler is not important. You need to get a little xylitol onto baby teeth several times each day – especially after meals and before sleeping.