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Dental and Oral Health (Children)

Severe Dental Problem Faced By My 22 Month Old

01/24/2006

Question:

My 22 month old daughter has undergone a 4 hrs surgery for her dental problems. She had 4 root canals, got 2 silver caps and 3 other caps, and has calcification on all her teeth, i.e. 15 out of 16 teeth were treated. She has never taken a soother, never slept with a bottle, never eats chocolates. Her first tooth came when she was 2 1/2 months. I have been brushing her since her first birthday. Please advise what should be done to avoid such severe damage in future, and what could be the reason for such a damage as I'm not able to understand the cause of this. Will her permanent teeth be affected because of this? What diet is good for her?

Answer:

Tooth decay occurs when foods that bacteria can break down to acid are present in the mouth frequently. Patterns of severe decay, like your daughter's, do occur when children sleep with a bottle that has milk or any sweetened fluid. This same pattern can occur in children who are breast-fed at will during the night. The lactose in human breast milk is readily converted to acid and can attack a child's teeth for hours. Other starchy foods like crackers and potato chips are also easily converted to acid and can cause tooth decay.

A 22 month-old child should be totally weaned from the bottle and breast and be eating a balanced diet. Between-meal snacks should include vegetables and non-sweetened foods. Your daughter is at high risk for future dental decay unless the reason for her current dental problems is identified and corrected. You are urged to see a pediatric dentist who will complete a diet survey for your daughter and counsel you regarding her specific needs.

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Response by:

Dennis J McTigue, DDS Dennis J McTigue, DDS
Professor of Pediatric Dentistry
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University