Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
You should start caring for your child’s smile right away, and if their teeth have begun erupting, you need to be careful about what you put in their bottle. Our dentist and the team at A Kids Dentist have tips for preventing baby bottle tooth decay in Huntington Beach, California. To keep your child’s new smile healthy, call 714-379-7755 to schedule a visit with Dr. Shalini Shah.
Baby bottle tooth decay is a term used to refer to early childhood cavities. This type of tooth decay occurs primarily in infants and toddlers and is caused by bacteria in the mouth. Baby bottle tooth decay is most frequently the result of a child keeping a bottle of sweetened liquid in bed at night or of parents and children sharing saliva via utensils or cups.
When children keep a bottle of sweetened liquid in bed with them, such as breast milk, baby formula, juice, or sweetened water, the liquid can remain in the mouth for some time. Oral bacteria feed on the sugar left in the mouth by these liquids and emit harmful acids that attack and wear away tooth enamel. Likewise, sharing forks or spoons with your child can transmit saliva that includes decay-causing bacteria between your mouths.
You can help prevent baby bottle tooth decay by following these suggestions:
- Rinse pacifiers and toys in clean water, and use a clean spoon for each person eating. Do not clean the pacifiers or toys in your own mouth or share a spoon with your child.
- Never place sugary drinks in baby bottles or sippy cups.
- If your child insists on having a bottle in bed, fill it only with water.
- Do not dip pacifiers in honey or sweet liquids.
- Encourage your child to use a regular cup after he or she reaches 12 months of age.
- Help your child maintain a balanced, nutritious diet.
- Gently clean your child’s gums after each feeding with a clean washcloth.
- Use an age-appropriate, soft-bristled toothbrush and an ADA-approved toothpaste when teeth begin to emerge.
- Clean your child’s teeth for them until about age 7. Before this time, children have not developed the necessary motor skills and coordination to effectively brush all areas of their mouths.
- Ask our dentist to review your child’s levels of fluoride.
If you have any questions about baby bottle tooth decay or wish to schedule your child’s appointment with our dentist, please call our office today.