Although baby teeth are temporary, they play an important role for chewing, speaking and smiling. They also serve as space maintainers allowing adequate space for proper eruption of adult teeth. Tooth decay in infants and toddlers is referred to as Baby Bottle Tooth Decay, or Early Childhood Caries.
What Causes it?
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay is caused by sweetened liquids (fruit juice, milk and formula) which are in contact with your baby’s teeth for a prolonged time. This is frequently observed when the baby is put to bed with a bottle containing milk or juice, or when a pacifier is frequently dipped in sugar or syrup. Salivary flow decreases considerably during sleep and exposes the teeth to decay.
How do you prevent baby bottle tooth decay in your child?
- Keep your baby’s mouth clean by wiping the gums with a clean baby washcloth
- Once you see the first teeth, gently brush using a soft baby toothbrush and a smear (grain of rice) of fluoride toothpaste
- Brush your child’s teeth two times a day for 2 minutes
- After the age of three (3), a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste can be used.
- Supervise brushing until your child is responsible and able to spit and not swallow toothpaste (usually after the age of seven (7)
- Place only formula and milk in bottles. Avoid filling the bottle with liquids such as sugar water, juice or soft drinks
- Infants should finish their bottles before going to bed. Never put your child in bed with a bottle or food
- If your child uses a pacifier, avoid dipping it in sugar or honey.
- Encourage your child to drink from a cup by his/her first birthday
- Floss baby teeth once a day
- Encourage healthy eating habits
- Schedule your child’s first dental visit shortly after his first birthday. Remember starting early is the key to a lifetime of good oral health
Hope you enjoyed the read!
Capital Dental Clinic