Children’s Dentistry: What is baby bottle tooth decay?

Baby bottle tooth decay can happen to children that drink from bottles. When the child drinks from a bottle it is best to limit the use to breast milk, formula or water. When juices and other beverages are given in the bottle over an extended period the sugar mainly affects the front teeth but this does not mean that the other teeth are not affected. To help reduce the risk of tooth decay a consistent regimen of brushing and flossing is always the gold standard. Swabbing the mouth of babies after each bottle before they have teeth is a great way to ensure good oral hygiene and promote healthy habits.

The child’s first teeth are very important for many reasons. They help the child learn to chew foods and learn to speak properly. If a child’s teeth are decaying the child may have pain and discomfort while chewing. Not only is this uncomfortable for the child learning to eat solid foods but also can cause a serious risk of choking if the child is unable to break down harder foods like carrots, cookies, and meats.

What can I do to help prevent “baby bottle tooth decay?” In regards to children’s dentistry there are some very simple practices that are easy to follow:

Avoid putting sugary drinks in a bottle for naptime and bedtime. The sugars from these drinks will stick to the enamel of the teeth and eventually cause decay.
Try to encourage the child to drink from a cup rather than a bottle usually by the time the child is one year old. Drinking from a cup helps the child swallow faster than from a bottle, hence less time the fluid is in contact with the teeth.
Avoid sharing your saliva with the child. Most of us don’t even realise that we are doing it. Avoid sharing spoons, cleaning the spoon with your mouth, and cleaning the pacifier with your mouth. It is beneficial for the child to have its own utensils.
Start the habit of brushing and flossing early. This will also give the child the benefit of having fluoride treated teeth and the best smile in town!

If you have any questions or would like to make an appointment, please contact us.

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