Baby bottle tooth decay is something that a lot of babies experience, and is caused when their teeth are frequently exposed to liquids containing sugars over a long period of time. Usually when infants and young children are put to bed with a bottle to suck from as they fall asleep. Milk, sodas, fruit juice, formula. These liquids and the sugars in them will pool around the gums and teeth of your child, feeding the bacteria that will result in plaque. Whenever your child has a liquid that contains sugar, the acid will attack their gums and teeth. After a number of exposures or attacks, tooth decay can begin. This condition has also been linked with infants who are breast-fed with prolonged feeding habits, as well as children who have had their pacifiers dipped regularly into syrup, sugar, or even honey. The sweet fluids that are left in the child’s mouth will increase the likelihood of cavities while the infant is asleep.
Tips on the prevention of decay from baby bottles
There are a number of different things that you can do in order to prevent baby bottle tooth decay. First and foremost, make sure you do not enable a habit of putting your child to sleep with a bottle. You also need to make sure the baby’s gums are massaged and cleaned once each day, as this helps with establishing healthy teeth, as well as aiding in teething. Simply wrap a washcloth or gauze square that has been moistened around the finger, gently massaging the gingival tissues and gums.
When your child’s first baby tooth starts to show, this is when the activities to remove plaque will begin. You should schedule your baby’s first appointment with Dr. Taylor when the first tooth begins to appear.
At home, you should use a soft toothbrush to brush your child’s teeth. You need a small amount of toothpaste, about the size of a pea. Before your child is able to spit, make sure the toothpaste you use is non-fluoride. Once your child is able to spit, you can then use fluoride toothpaste. Once your child is aged between six and 12-months-old, they should have had their first trip to the dentist.
You can make changes to your child’s diet in order to try and stop baby bottle tooth decay. A number of small changes over a period of time is typically easier for you as a parent and will result in improved oral health in the end. So, what sort of changes should you be looking to implement?
- Over a period of two to three weeks, gradually dilute the contents in your child’s bottle with water.
- When this period has ended, fill it with water if you give your child a bottle. Water is the only safe liquid to put in a bottle to stop baby bottle tooth decay.
- Decrease your child’s sugar consumption, especially in between meals.
- As soon as your child is able to drink from a cup, you should wean him or her from the bottle. However, do not take the bottle away too soon, as the sucking motion can help in terms of developing tongue and facial muscles.
When you are ready to learn how to take care of your new little one’s teeth and oral health care needs, please contact us for an appointment with Dr. Taylor. She can teach you much more about how to ensure proper dental development.