Baby bottle tooth decay is one of the most serious oral problems that can affect older infants and younger toddlers. It can result in extensive cavities throughout the front teeth, and requires immediate intervention from a dentist like Dr. Su Kim.
But it’s not as scary as it seems! The good news is that baby bottle tooth decay is really easy to prevent. As long as you know what it is and what causes it, your little one’s teeth will remain healthy, bright, and strong. Get all the details in this blog post from Tiny Tooth Pediatric Dentistry.
What Is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay, And What Causes It?
Baby bottle tooth decay is a term used to refer to extensive cavities (also called “dental caries”) that affect a child’s front teeth, particularly their upper front teeth. If your child has baby bottle tooth decay, you may see lots of gray, dark, or discolored spots throughout their front teeth.
As the name suggests, the most common cause of baby bottle tooth decay is putting your child to sleep with a bottle. If you put your child to sleep with a bottle of milk, formula, juice, or any other sugary liquid, they will tend to suck on it and feed until they fall asleep.
When your child sleeps, their saliva production will decrease, and some of the liquid will pool up in their mouth, usually near the front teeth. Then, the bacteria in their mouth will start feeding on this sugar-rich liquid.
After they feed, these bacteria will excrete acid. This attacks the teeth, removing essential minerals and softening your child’s enamel. Eventually, this will cause holes to form in the teeth, which are known as cavities or caries.
How Do I Avoid Baby Bottle Tooth Decay And Keep My Child’s Teeth Healthy?
While baby bottle tooth decay is serious, it’s also easy to avoid. You’ve probably already guessed the best way to avoid it, but here’s a full list of steps you can take to keep your child’s smile healthy.
- Don’t put your child to bed with a bottle – Unless it only contains water, never let your child sleep with a bottle. Any liquid that contains sugar will be harmful to their oral health.
- Maintain a healthy, low-sugar diet – A diet low in sugary drinks and foods will help your child avoid cavities throughout their infancy, toddlerhood, and childhood. We recommend giving them only water and milk to drink, and minimizing processed foods and drinks.
- Keep their gums and teeth clean – If your child doesn’t yet have teeth, wipe their gums down with a clean cloth after feeding. And once their teeth start to come out, brush them twice a day.
Use a grain of rice-sized blob of fluoride toothpaste to brush their teeth until they can spit on command. Once your child can spit and won’t swallow the toothpaste, brush it twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
- Prevent saliva spread between your family and your child – Did you know that the bacteria that cause cavities are contagious? Older adults and children can spread them to younger kids through their saliva. So avoid things like sharing cups and kissing your child on the lips. This can help reduce their risk of cavities as they grow.
Is Your Child Due For A Checkup? Come See Dr. Su Kim Today!
Along with the above steps, seeing a pediatric dentist regularly is one of the best ways to prevent tooth decay in kids. So if your child is overdue for their next visit, Dr. Su and the team at Tiny Tooth Pediatric Dentistry are here to help. Give us a call or contact us at (443) 812-8027 to schedule an appointment now.