What is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?
When an infant or toddler has tooth decay, it is often referred to as baby bottle tooth decay. Baby teeth may be temporary, but they are important. Your child needs strong, healthy teeth so they can speak and chew their food properly. Healthy teeth also help your child have a healthy-looking smile. Primary teeth are placeholders that help guide the permanent teeth into their correct positions. Oral care should begin when your child is still an infant so that they can have a healthy smile for years to come.
What Causes Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?
Baby bottle tooth decay can occur when liquids that are sweetened or with natural sugars are exposed to the teeth for long periods of time. Bacteria in the mouth uses this sugar to make acids that attack the teeth. The following can cause baby bottle tooth decay:
• Not receiving enough fluoride
• Dipping your infant’s pacifier in sugar, syrup, or honey
• Putting your baby to bed with a bottle
• Putting your baby’s feeding spoon or pacifier in your mouth
• Giving your infant a sugary drink at nap time or bedtime
How Do I Care for My Child’s Smile?
• Avoid putting sugary drinks like juice in your baby’s bottle.
• Wipe your baby’s gums with a clean, damp washcloth or gauze pad after feeding your baby
• From the ages of three to six, brush with a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste
• Supervise your child when he or she brushes their teeth until they learn not to swallow toothpaste
• Be sure that your child is getting enough fluoride, as this helps prevent cavities. If your water supply does not have fluoride, ask our dentists if you need to use a supplement.
• Start taking your child to the dentist by his or her first birthday.
• Once your baby’s teeth start coming in, gently brush them using a child-size toothbrush and a smear of toothpaste
We encourage you to contact our office to learn more about preventing baby bottle tooth decay in Fort Collins, Colorado, and to schedule your child’s appointment with Drs. Holmes and Holmes.