Baby bottle tooth decay is a dental condition that can destroy the teeth of an infant or young child. The upper front teeth are the most susceptible to damage, but other teeth also may be affected.
Baby bottle tooth decay is caused by the frequent and long-term exposure of a child’s teeth to liquids containing sugars. Among these liquids are milk, formula, fruit juice, sodas, and other sweetened drinks. The sugars in these liquids pool around the infant’s teeth and gums, feeding the bacteria that cause plaque. Every time your child consumes a sugary liquid, acid attacks his/her teeth. After numerous attacks, tooth decay can occur, resulting in baby bottle tooth decay.
Parents and care givers should be especially concerned with giving an infant a sugary drink at nap or night time. During sleep, the flow of saliva decreases, allowing the sugary liquids to pool around the child’s teeth for an extended period of time.
How to prevent baby bottle tooth decay
Parents sometimes do not realize that baby’s teeth are susceptible to decay as soon as they appear in the infant’s mouth. By the time the decay is noticed, it may be too late to save the child’s teeth. You can prevent this from happening to your child’s teeth by knowing how to protect them.
● After each feeding wipe the child’s teeth and gums with a damp washcloth or small soft toothbrush to remove plaque. Begin brushing your child’s teeth as soon as the first tooth erupts. Flossing should being when all primary teeth have erupted, usually by age 2 or 2 1/2.
● Never allow your child to fall asleep with a bottle containing a sweetened liquid.
● If your child refuses to fall asleep without a bottle, simply fill it with water and nothing else.
● If your local water supply contains fluoride then use non-fluoridated water. Do not let the child’s doctor prescribe a fluoride supplement. (See the post on fluoride)
● Start dental visits between six and twelve months of age or at the age of cooperation, whichever comes last.
How serious is baby bottle tooth decay?
Baby bottle tooth decay can cause painful toothaches which can hinder eating. Severely decayed teeth can become infected and need to be extracted. If your child’s teeth are infected or lost too early due to baby bottle tooth decay, your child may have some of these problems:
● Poor eating habits
● Speech problems
● Crooked teeth
● Damaged adult (permanent) teeth
● Yellow or brown adult (permanent) teeth
Keep your child happy and smiling by preventing baby bottle tooth decay.
Legal CMA Disclaimer:
Although this article may contain factual information, the information contained in this article has probably not been evaluated by the FDA nor is it in any way intended to be medical advice.
Unfortunately I must recommend that for any change in medical or health behavior or for any change in the way you use prescribed drugs by your healthcare providers or before acting upon any of the advice given in this or any other article, that you consult with your licensed healthcare provider or physician.
Dr. Locker and his friendly, knowledgeable staff invite you to call Gentle Family Dentistry in Duncansville, PA for the greatest, most advanced, painless dental experience you have ever had.