Understanding and Preventing Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Although baby teeth eventually fall out, it’s still important to care for them and prevent tooth decay. This type of damage, known as baby bottle tooth decay, can develop in these tiny teeth and have a harmful impact on the development of permanent teeth. Find out what causes it and how to prevent it, so you can keep your child’s teeth healthy.
Importance of Preventing Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Lowering the risk of tooth decay and keeping your baby’s teeth in good condition helps prevent problems with chewing or speaking. Tooth decay or cavities can end up causing discomfort, making it difficult for children to speak properly or bite and chew food. Keep in mind that baby teeth also serve as space savers for permanent teeth that come in behind them. If these teeth fall out too early due to decay, it can affect the alignment of permanent teeth.
Causes of Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Tooth decay typically occurs when teeth are exposed to sugar, which causes bacteria to build up. Bacteria feed on these sugars, leaving behind acids that cause tooth enamel to erode, leaving teeth more vulnerable to decay and damage. Baby bottle tooth decay gets its name from the fact that this damage usually develops in the upper front teeth. Babies who are put to bed with a bottle of juice or another liquid that contains sugar are at high risk of decay since the sugars from these liquids stay on their teeth for hours during the night. There are other possible causes of decay in baby teeth as well. Mothers can pass harmful bacteria to their children through saliva when they put a spoon in their mouth then give it to their baby. This can also happen when mothers clean off pacifiers in their mouth before giving it to their baby. Low amounts of fluoride can also increase the risk of developing baby bottle tooth decay.
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay Prevention
There are several ways to lower your baby’s risk of developing tooth decay. These include avoiding spreading germs from your mouth to your baby’s, using plain water to clean pacifiers and never putting your baby to bed with a bottle of juice or other sugary liquids. When you give your baby a bottle for feedings or nap time, it should only have breast milk or formula in it. If possible, avoid giving your baby a bottle at bedtime. You can also decrease the risk of decay by brushing baby teeth with a tiny amount of toothpaste with fluoride and bringing them to the dentist for routine checkups. Dentists can check for signs of baby bottle tooth decay and make sure your baby’s teeth and gums are in good condition.
If you need to schedule a dental appointment for your child, contact Wright Smiles Pediatric Dentistry. We look forward to seeing you!