As a parent to a young child, it is important to remember that tooth decay can occur as soon as the first tooth appears. Tooth decay is particularly prevalent in children who drink from a bottle on a regular basis. This is referred to as baby bottle tooth decay and it can be a real problem.
How Does A Bottle Cause Tooth Decay?
Baby bottle tooth decay happens when the child's teeth start to decay due to exposure the sugar found in formula and juice. You will notice that the decay is typically present in the front teeth because that is where the liquid touches the teeth. Keep in mind, however, that any tooth in the mouth is susceptible to baby bottle tooth decay if they are not cleaned properly.
There are a variety of causes of baby bottle tooth decay, but the primary cause is using a bottle as a way to pacify a baby, particularly before bedtime when the teeth cannot be immediately cleaned after drinking. It can also be caused by bacteria transmitted from the mouth of the parent if he or she puts the child's bottle in their own mouth then into the mouth of the baby.
What Is The Best Way To Prevent Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?
The good news is there are multiple ways to prevent baby bottle tooth decay. The best way to ensure your child's baby teeth remain health is to clean them daily after each feeding or drinking from a bottle. For babies, use an infant toothbrush or a washcloth to wipe the teeth gently after having a bottle.
You should also avoid giving the child juice or other sugary fluids in a bottle. Formula or breastmilk are the only things you should give in a bottle. A sippy cup can be used for other fluids. Be sure to also dilute any juice with water before gibing it to a baby to lessen the amount of sugar exposure on the teeth.
In addition, avoid giving the child the bottle when he or she goes to bed. Instead, make sure they finish it before you lay them down so that you can clean the teeth. Do not use the bottle as a pacifier. If they are soothed by the extra comfort of sucking when going to sleep, give them a clean pacifier when putting them to bed.
Caring for baby teeth is a very important part of maintaining their health. When the first tooth arrives, visit your family dentist so that you can be fully informed on the best ways to care for the teeth.