Toddlers shouldn’t have to suffer baby bottle tooth decay — they have already have plenty of developmental milestones to tackle.
But you have the power to prevent early onset dental problems in your baby — you just have to know what you are up against.
Baby bottle tooth decay is a common condition, but it can be avoided when parents take the proper steps.
What Is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?
Baby bottle tooth decay is essentially the same as adult tooth decay.
When baby teeth are exposed to sugars, the acids that build up in plaque begin to eat away at the tooth enamel. In young children, the condition gets its nickname due to the common reason for the decay — extended periods of drinking from a baby bottle, especially at bedtimes.
If a baby is given a pacifier dipped in a sugary substance, this also can result in an early onset of cavities.
Be Aware of Related Health Problems
Don’t be fooled — even though baby teeth eventually fall out, they serve multiple important purposes until then. Taking care of your child’s first set of teeth is vital in order to prevent more complex health and developmental issues.
Decaying baby teeth may cause your child pain. Infections can develop easily, possibly resulting in tooth extraction. When baby teeth are removed too soon, your child’s speech development may be affected. Their adult teeth could develop improperly, and they also could form unhealthy long-term chewing habits.
Take Proactive Steps to Increase Your Child’s Dental Health
Don’t risk your child’s future dental health. Start recognizing how you can prevent this condition from developing in your child today.
First, never put babies to bed with a bottle of milk, formula or juice. Allowing them to constantly suck on sugary liquids throughout the night leads to major plaque buildup in their mouths. Once your baby is a year old, switch from a bottle to a cup.
After feedings, wipe your baby’s gums with a clean washcloth to clear away any excess formula or milk. Once your baby’s teeth come in, brush them twice per day — once after the morning meal and once before their bedtime.
If possible, avoid giving your child juice. Stick to water instead.
Also, it is important to limit the amount of sugar they eat in the form of candy and other sweets. Sticky foods are not recommended, including gummy snacks — even those for sale in the baby food aisles.
Schedule an Appointment with Your Family Dentist
By the time your child reaches age 1, you should partner with a family dentist who will examine his or her teeth and make helpful recommendations on how to continue preventing early childhood tooth decay. Regular dental care beginning at a young age sets your child up for lifelong oral health by instilling daily dental care habits.
Talk to Oak Hills Dentistry today if you want to learn more about what you can do to avoid baby bottle tooth decay and help ensure your child’s smile is bright and healthy.