Even though they are not permanent, it is very important to take care of your children’s baby teeth. Healthy, strong teeth are essential for speaking, chewing, and feeling comfortable while smiling. Baby teeth are unfortunately just as susceptible to decay as adult teeth. When it is present in a baby or toddler, it is often referred to as baby bottle decay.
What Causes Baby Bottle Decay?
This problem often is the result of babies and toddlers being put to bed with a bottle, hence the name. Many parents put their children to bed with a bottle full of milk or formula, thinking this will help them sleep. While that may be true, it also allows sugar to sit on their teeth all night.
Some babies and toddlers simply do not get enough fluoride. It is important to start brushing with a good toothpaste as soon as their first tooth appears. It is also possible that the cavity-causing bacteria was actually passed onto the child by their mother or other caregivers. This bacteria is transferred through saliva. Parents often clean their baby’s pacifier with their mouth, or share a sip of their drink, without realizing the damage it could be doing.
How Baby Bottle Decay Can Be Prevented
As scary as tooth decay may be, the good news is that it is almost always preventable.
The most important thing to do is to schedule an appointment with a dentist for your child as soon as their first tooth appears. It is important to get your children familiar and comfortable with the dentist at a young age so that they view them as an ally throughout their life. Other steps to take to prevent baby bottle decay include:
- Never put juice or other sugary drinks in a bottle
- Have your child finish their bottle before putting them in bed
- Take steps to avoid sharing saliva with your baby or toddler
- Start brushing your child’s teeth as soon as the first one shows up
- Use a toothpaste that has fluoride in it
If you would like to learn more about baby bottle decay, how to prevent it, and what can be done about it, get in touch with Carnegie Dental Clinic. We would be happy to answer your questions and schedule you for a consultation at our office in Victoria. Contact us today to book an appointment and get started.