Keeping your child’s primary (baby) teeth healthy is extremely important. Yes, primary teeth do fall out; however they serve many critical functions in your child’s overall dental health. Neglecting to care for them could result in major damage not only to their baby teeth but also their adult teeth that follow.
What is baby bottle tooth decay?
Baby bottle tooth decay is the result of long term exposure to sugary drinks such as formula, juice, milk, sodas, etc. If the sugars in these liquids or foods that we eat are not brushed or wiped off of the teeth it will feed the bacteria surrounding the teeth known as plaque. This means that each time your child consumes a sugary drink or food with sugar in it, acid attacks the gums and teeth and after several times, tooth decay can start.
What can I do to prevent baby bottle tooth decay?
There are several preventative steps you can take to prevent your child from baby bottle tooth decay.
- Never allow your child to fall asleep with a bottle containing sugary drinks. If they insist on going to bed with a bottle fill it with water only
- If your baby does not have teeth yet make sure to massage and clean your child’s gums with a wet wash cloth or gauze after each feeding.
- As soon as you see their first tooth comes in start brushing it! Use a soft toothbrush with a rice sized smear of fluoride toothpaste (even before the child can spit) and once they can spit you can use a pea sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste.
- Call your dentist and schedule an appointment six months after their first tooth comes in or at age one.
- Do not dip your child’s pacifier in sugary liquids.
- Limit frequent snacking between meals.
Should I be worried about baby bottle tooth decay?
When you give a small child a sugary drink in a bottle to bed it can be very harmful for their teeth as their saliva flow decrease during sleep. This allows those sugars to sit on their teeth for an extended period of time. Over time if this continues it can cause severe tooth decay resulting in infections and early tooth loss. If you correctly care for your child’s baby teeth it will usually result in health permanent teeth.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule your young child an appointment, please give our office a call, we’re happy to help!