baby bottle tooth decay

Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

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A child’s baby teeth are temporary but it doesn’t mean that you should not take care of them. Your child requires strong and healthy teeth to chew their food properly, speak coherently and give off a bright smile. Their baby teeth also ensure that their adult teeth will come in correctly. Tooth decay in infants and toddlers, also known as baby bottle tooth decay, is very common. 

What is baby bottle tooth decay?

We all know the reasons why we don’t give our children too many candies or sweets. In fact, as adults, we are also advised not to eat too much food loaded with sugar not just because it exposes you to certain health conditions such as diabetes but it can also damage your teeth. Eating too much sugar can produce acid that can weaken your tooth enamel, increasing your chance of experiencing tooth decay, plaque buildup or worse, tooth loss. 

The same thing happens with your infants and toddlers. Baby bottle tooth decay occurs when sweetened liquids or those with natural sugars cling to their teeth for an extended period of time. These include liquids such as milk, milk formula and fruit juices. The bacteria found in the infant’s mouth will thrive on these sugary substances and will produce acid that will attack the teeth. Children who use pacifiers dipped in sugar or when an infant is given sugary drinks during nap time are more at risk of baby bottle tooth decay. When sleeping, a baby produces less saliva which can combat the harmful effect of acid. 

Should you feel worried about baby bottle tooth decay?

Some people may say that it’s not a big deal at all because the teeth will be replaced soon but remember those baby teeth serve as placeholders for adult teeth. If left ignored and you don’t do anything about it, it can be painful for your infant due to infection and it can cause tooth decay. A severely decayed tooth might be advised to be removed. Imagine the pain your child will go through at a young age. 

If your child’s tooth is infected too early, it can lead to several problems such as poor eating habits, speech problems, and damaged adult teeth. These things, above all, should make you feel concerned about your infant’s dental health. Fortunately, there are ways on how you can protect your infant’s teeth against baby bottle tooth decay and this includes:

  • After each feeding, make sure to wipe your baby’s gum with a clean washcloth or gauze pad. 
  • When his/her first tooth comes in, start brushing it. However, make sure to choose a toothpaste that is fluoride-free.
  • Clean and massage your baby’s gum especially those that don’t have teeth yet.
  • Once the baby teeth are all in, floss.
  • Make sure your baby is done drinking their milk before bed time.
  • When using a pacifier, do not dip it with sugar or honey to keep the sweets away.
  • Encourage your child to drink from a cup, especially if he/she has already turned 1.

Follow these and you can make sure your baby’s teeth are protected and they can have healthy teeth while growing up. 

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