Baby Bottle Tooth Decay and How You Can Prevent It
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay refers to the tooth decay in babies and toddlers. Baby Bottle Tooth Decay most frequently occurs in the upper teeth, but can happen to any of the teeth. One cause of the decay, is prolonged exposure to sugary beverages. Tooth decay can also occur when a bottle is frequently used as a pacifier, or when the baby is put to bed with a bottle. Tooth decay can also be caused by cavity causing bacteria that is passed through saliva. When an adult puts the baby’s spoon or pacifier in their mouth to clean it, the bacteria in the adult’s saliva can be passed to the baby. It’s important to keep your infant’s teeth clean, because their first teeth help make sure their adult teeth come in properly.
Here are some tips from the American Dental Association to prevent Baby Bottle Tooth Decay:
- Try not to share saliva with the baby through common use of feeding spoons or licking pacifiers. After each feeding, wipe your child’s gums with a clean, damp gauze pad or washcloth.
- When your child’s teeth come in, brush them gently with a child-size toothbrush and a smear (or grain of rice sized amount) of fluoride toothpaste until the age of 3.
- Brush their teeth with a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste from the ages of 3 to 6.
- Supervise brushing until your child can be counted on to spit and not swallow toothpaste—usually not before he or she is 6 or 7.
- Place only formula, milk or breast milk in bottles. Avoid filling the bottle with liquids such as sugar water, juice or soft drinks.
- Infants should finish their bedtime and nap time bottles before going to bed.
- If your child uses a pacifier, provide one that is clean—don’t dip it in sugar or honey.
- Encourage your child to drink from a cup by his/her first birthday.
- Encourage healthy eating habits.
It’s important to start their oral hygiene early so they can have a lifetime of healthy teeth. When your child’s first tooth does come in, schedule a consultation appointment with your dentist.