What is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?
When an infant or toddler has tooth decay, it is often referred to as baby bottle tooth decay. Baby teeth may be temporary, but they are important. Your child needs healthy, strong teeth so they can chew their food and speak properly. Primary teeth are placeholders that help guide the permanent teeth into their correct positions. Oral care should begin when your child is still an infant so that they can have a healthy smile for years to come.
What Causes Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?
Baby bottle tooth decay can occur when liquids that are sweetened or with natural sugars are exposed to the teeth for long periods of time. Bacteria in the mouth uses the sugar to make acids that attack the teeth. The following can cause baby bottle tooth decay:
• Giving your infant a sugary drink at nap time or bedtime
• Putting your baby to bed with a bottle
• Putting your baby’s feeding spoon or pacifier in your mouth
• Not receiving enough fluoride
How Do I Care for My Child’s Smile?
• Place only formula, milk, or breastmilk in your baby’s bottles. Avoid putting sugary drinks like juice in your baby’s bottle.
• After feeding your baby, wipe their gums with a clean, damp washcloth or gauze pad
• Once your baby’s teeth start coming in, gently brush them using a child-size toothbrush and a smear of toothpaste, about the size of a grain of rice
• From the ages of three to six, brush with a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste
• Supervise your child when he or she brushes their teeth until they learn not to swallow toothpaste
• Be sure that your child is getting enough fluoride, as this helps prevent cavities. If your water supply does not have fluoride, ask our dentist if you need to use a supplement.
To learn more about preventing baby bottle tooth decay in Burlington, Massachusetts, and to schedule your child’s next appointment with Dr. Christopher McGonigle, we invite you to contact Advanced Dental Care today.