Baby bottle decay is a type of tooth decay in infants and toddlers. It can also be called early childhood caries or infant caries. It usually affects the front teeth or incisors, but it can also damage other teeth.
Baby bottle decay is caused by too much sugar on the teeth, which comes from milk, formula, juice, or other sweetened drinks. The sugar feeds the bacteria in the mouth, which produce acid that erodes the tooth enamel and causes cavities.
Baby bottle decay can have serious consequences for your child's oral health and overall well-being. It can cause pain, infection, tooth loss, difficulty eating and speaking, and crooked adult teeth. Therefore, it is important to prevent baby bottle decay.
Here are some measures you can take to help your child avoid this condition.
Clean Your Baby's Mouth After Every Feeding
If your baby has no teeth, use a damp, clean piece of gauze or cloth to wipe their gums. If your baby has teeth, use a child-size toothbrush and a small amount of fluoride toothpaste (about the size of a grain of rice) to gently brush their teeth and gums twice a day, especially before bedtime.
Offer Only Water in Bottles at Bedtime
Avoid putting your baby to bed with a bottle of milk, formula, juice, or any other sugary drink. The sugar will stay on their teeth for hours and cause decay. If you need to give your baby a bottle at night, fill it with water only. You can also offer a pacifier or a cuddly toy instead of a bottle.
Limit Sugary Drinks and Snacks for Your Baby
Give them water or milk in a bottle or a sippy cup during the day. Juice should be diluted with water (half and half) and given in a cup only. Avoid giving your baby soda, sports drinks, candy, cookies, or other sweets that can harm their teeth.
Wean From Bottles
Help your baby transition from bottle to cup by 6 months of age. This will reduce their exposure to sugar and help them develop their oral muscles. You can start by offering them water in a cup after meals or snacks. Gradually replace one bottle feeding with a cup feeding every day until they are completely weaned from the bottle.
Take Your Baby to a Dentist
Take your baby to the dentist as soon as their first tooth appears, or no later than their first birthday. The dentist will check for signs of decay and other oral problems and teach you how to care for your baby's teeth. You should take your baby to the dentist every six months for regular check-ups and cleanings.
To have your baby's teeth assessed, schedule an appointment with a company such as Westnedge Family Dentistry.
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