It can be tempting to leave your fussy baby in their crib with a bottle at night; he/she stays happy and full for the night and it allows you to get some much needed rest. However, you could actually be harming their teeth and causing tooth decay.
What is baby bottle tooth decay?
You may have heard the term “baby bottle tooth decay”, this is referring to decay on your child’s teeth that is caused by prolonged exposure to sugary drinks such as juice or milk placed in a bottle and given to the child at nighttime. The bacteria on your child’s teeth thrive on and feed off of the sugars in these drinks and start to produce acid. The acid will start to break down and weaken the enamel on the tooth which can lead to decay.
It’s common to believe that baby teeth are not critical; they’re going to fall out right? Well, yes they do eventually fall out. However; the goal is to keep them until they are ready to come out. It may surprise you to know that baby molars aren’t expected to fall out until a child is 11 or 12 years old. Baby teeth are necessary for more than most people realize and if the tooth is lost prematurely it can cause difficulty in chewing, speaking, and can cause the permanent tooth to come in crooked.
To help prevent tooth decay follow these steps below:
- After breast feeding wipe your baby’s gums and/or teeth with a warm wet washcloth
- Avoid giving your child sugary drinks before bedtime and save them for a special occasion, water only before bedtime
- When you first see a tooth, brush it!
- Schedule your child’s first dental appointment with your local pediatric dentist when he/she turns 1 year old (As per the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry)
Having healthy baby teeth will increase the odds of your child having healthy permanent teeth. If you have any questions or concerns please call our office, we are happy to help!