Tooth Decay from Baby Bottles
You may be thinking that because your baby’s teeth are temporary, they don’t need to be cared for the same way as adult teeth. However, that is not the case. Those little teeth are still susceptible to cavities. Baby teeth are important for babies to speak, chew their food, and act as a placeholder for their adult teeth.
Potential Causes of Baby Tooth Decay
It is possible for baby teeth to decay from their baby bottles. It is most common in the front, upper teeth, but it is possible that other teeth may be affected. This decay happens when the teeth are exposed for an extended period of time to sugary drinks. An example of this would be when a baby falls asleep with a bottle or uses a bottle as a method of calming. There are preventative measures that you can take in order to prevent tooth decay in your baby.
Preventative Measures Against Baby Tooth Decay
One preventative measure is to brush your child’s teeth as soon as they come in. The toothpaste should have fluoride; fluoride helps prevent tooth decay in your infant or toddler. We recommend using a child’s toothbrush and use a minimal amount of toothpaste (about the size of a grain of rice) that contains fluoride. This amount of toothpaste should be used if your baby is three or under. If your child is between the ages of three and six, you can use a pea-size amount of toothpaste with fluoride. Make sure you are always keeping an eye on your child to ensure they do not swallow any toothpaste. Typically you should consider supervising your children until the age of seven. If your baby does not have teeth yet, we recommend wiping down their gums with a damp, clean washcloth or gauze after every feeding.
Aside from good brushing habits, make sure you only use breast milk, milk or formula in bottles. Do not fill bottles with sugary drinks such as juice, sugar water, or soft drinks. Another measure to prevent tooth decay is to teach your child to use a cup by their first birthday. A pacifier should always be clean before it is given to a child. Do not dip the pacifier in any substance (i.e., honey or sugar water). Lastly, always encourage your child to eat healthily, refrain from sweets as much as possible and avoid high sugar beverages. It’s never too early to start healthy dental habits with your child(ren).
When Should I Schedule an Appointment
You may be surprised to learn, but your baby should have their first dental appointment as soon as their first tooth comes in. These appointments are called baby-wellness check-ups. During this appointment, your dentist will check for any signs of decay and will ensure everything is developing as it should be.
If you have any questions, please feel free to give our Troy dental office a call. We would love to help your baby get on track for healthy dental habits!