Although your baby’s teeth are temporary, they are still important. Like adult teeth, they are vulnerable to cavities and tooth decay. Taking care of your baby’s first set of teeth is vital for preventing baby bottle tooth decay.
What is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?
Baby bottle tooth decay, also known as early childhood caries, is an oral bacterial infection caused by prolonged exposure of the teeth from sugary products such as milk, baby formula and fruit juices.
Bacteria causes the sugars and starches that linger in the mouth to change into acid. The acid then attacks the teeth’s enamel, causing cavities and tooth decay. Baby bottle tooth decay usually occurs in the top front teeth, however, other teeth are also exposed to the risk.
What Causes Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?
The most common cause of baby bottle tooth decay is giving your baby a bottle during bedtime. The saliva flow decreases during sleep, leaving the liquid to linger in the mouth for an extended period of time, causing the acid to build up and ultimately leading to tooth decay. Another cause is dipping your baby’s dummy in sugar or syrupy products. Once again, the sugary product remains in the mouth, exposing their teeth to harmful bacteria.
Preventing Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
There are a few ways in which parents can help prevent their baby from exposing their teeth to tooth decay. Firstly, don’t allow your child to fall asleep with a bottle containing sugary liquids. Ensure that they finish their bedtime or naptime bottle before they fall asleep.
If your child uses a dummy, make sure that it is clean. Do not dip it in sweet liquids or syrups.
Clean your baby’s teeth and gums using a clean, damp washcloth. To do this, wrap the washcloth around your index finger and gently massage the gums. Do this twice a day. It is advisable to introduce a daily oral hygiene routine even before your child starts teething.
About The Author
Dr. Chig Amin is the owner and principal dentist of the Epsom Dental Centre. Dr. Amin practises gentle dentistry and ensures that all of his patients receive the dental care that best meets their needs.