Baby Bottle Tooth Decay Prevention in Lancaster OH

Baby bottle tooth decay is severe decay of the baby teeth of infants and young children. It is a very real condition so it is important to understand that the health of your baby’s teeth is very critical to their overall health and the health of their permanent teeth later on in life. Children need strong baby teeth to chew their food, speak properly and eventually for their permanent teeth to grow in correctly. It is extremely important to start their good oral care early on in life, during infancy. As a parent or guardian, it is your responsibility to take control of your child’s oral health from the very beginning and apply healthy habits to prevent and reduce the risk of baby bottle tooth decay.
Don’t worry though, we have you and your child’s best interest at heart and we can help you to establish good oral habits and lead you in the direction you need to go incase your infant or child is showing any sign of baby bottle tooth decay. 

What is baby bottle tooth decay and what causes it?

When tooth decay occurs in infants or very young children it is called baby bottle tooth decay. It generally affects children who fall asleep drinking a bottle with sugary liquid inside. Saliva flow decreases during sleep so falling asleep with this sweetened drink is very harmful. The sugar in these liquids coats an infant’s teeth and allows bacteria to grow and it thrives off of it. As a result the child can experience tooth decay and it can happen fast. Baby bottle tooth decay can impact all teeth but typically affect the upper front teeth more often. 
Infants usually consume too much sugar when they are provided with certain types of formula or milk, juice or sweetened snacks. Tooth decay is an oral disease that can also begin when a parent or guardian passes cavity-causing bacteria to an infant. Usually it passes through saliva so it can occur if mom shares a spoon with her child, for example. An infant may also be more susceptible to tooth decay if they are not receiving an acceptable amount of fluoride. 

Why healthy baby teeth are important 

It is very important to keep baby teeth healthy and clean even at a young age. Some reasons why: 
  • Chewing and and eating are easier when our teeth are strong and the same goes for your child. 
  • Your baby teeth help form the shape of your child’s face. So keep them healthy!
  • Healthy baby teeth will help your child talk more clearly.
  • Baby teeth hold spaces open for the permanent teeth to come in.
  • Starting a good oral routine early will create good habits later in life, and improve overall health  
Tooth decay can be very detrimental for a child. It causes:
  • Mouth pain and discomfort
  • Damage even to permanent teeth that are underneath the gums
  • Loss of space needed for permanent teeth to grow
  • Need for costly dental care
  • Infections that affect the child’s overall health

Signs and symptoms of baby bottle tooth decay

Infant caries or cavities is the medical term for tooth decay. These caries that are caused by baby bottle tooth decay can form in any of the baby teeth.  But it is the front teeth that are usually affected more. They will appear as unnaturally white, dark, or brown spots on the teeth can also appear. The tooth decay may also cause the child’s teeth to become more sensitive than usual.

Dos and Don’ts to Prevent Baby Bottle Tooth Decay 

DO :
  • Clean your baby’s teeth after each bottle or breast feeding. Even after giving any medicine that contains sugar
  • Give a pacifier or a bottle of plain water if your baby needs to suck on something for comfort
  • Avoid bedtime or nap time feedings when possible
  • Use a bottle for feedings only 
  • Try using a cup instead for toddlers
  • Wean your baby from the bottle to a cup by 12 months of age 
  • Contact our office for an appointment if you suspect your child has baby bottle tooth decay  
  • Put liquids that contain sugar in your child’s bottle when putting them down for bed or a nap
  • Let your child fall asleep while nursing 
  • Use the bottle as a pacifier 
  • Breastfeed longer than 30 minutes if possible 
  • Give a baby a bottle in bed
  • Let tooth decay go untreated if you notice any signs or symptoms

Cleaning your child’s mouth 

Here are some steps in helping you to know how to clean your infant or child’s mouth as advised by the Nationwide Children’s Organization.
Even before the teeth begin to come in you can clean your baby’s mouth at least once a day with a clean gauze pad or soft cloth. Make this a regular habit.  
1. Depending on your child’s age, use one of these methods to clean the teeth and gums:
  • Hold an infant on your lap and support the head with your hand so you can see easily into the mouth.
  • With the child seated in a high chair, stand behind him and brush the teeth.
  • Sit on a sofa with your child’s head in your lap (or, if someone is helping you, place the child’s head in your lap with his feet toward your helper). 
2. Place a clean gauze pad or soft cloth over your finger. Dip it in water so that it’s damp but not soaking wet. Wipe the child’s teeth and gums gently.
3. When the child’s teeth start coming in, begin to use a small, soft toothbrush to brush his or her teeth. Be sure to brush all surfaces of the teeth, including the gums. 
4. You don’t need to use toothpaste, but if you do, use a small amount of fluoride toothpaste  (about the size of a small pea). 
5. Children should be able to brush their teeth by themselves by age 11. Until then, parents should watch or help, based on their child’s abilities. 

Our team can help

If you are a parent or guardian in Lancaster, OH area and are concerned about early signs of baby bottle tooth decay or simply want to get your child on the right path to good dental health Contact us today. Peditaric Dentist Dr.Jonathan Draney of Lancaster Pediatric Dentistry is experienced and cares about how to help you and your child in the best way possible. Call to schedule a checkup today!
request an appointment