Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
What is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?
Tooth decay in infants and toddlers is often called baby bottle tooth decay. It’s also called early childhood caries. Baby bottle tooth decay most often occurs in the upper front teeth but can affect other teeth as well. No matter how young a child is, it’s never too early to monitor oral hygiene and diet to ensure their baby teeth remain healthy; after all, healthy adult teeth stem from healthy baby teeth.
The biggest cause of baby bottle tooth decay is the extensive, unnecessary exposure to sugary drinks. This often occurs when a baby naps or sleeps with a bottle full of milk or juice. When a child sips from a bottle as they fall asleep, some liquid can remain in their mouth after falling asleep. That means their developing teeth soak in the liquid’s sugar while sleeping, which begins the process of tooth decay.
How To Prevent Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
- Don’t put your child to bed with a bottle of juice or other sugary drinks. If possible, have your infant finish the bottle before naptime or bedtime
- Don’t dip pacifiers in sugar or honey. Children under 1-year-old should never consume honey, as it increases their risk of infant botulism
- After each feeding, wipe your child’s gums with a clean, damp gauze pad or washcloth
- Avoid cleaning your child’s feeding spoons by putting them in your mouth; run them under tap water to rinse them off before using it to feed your child again
- Establish a healthy diet
- When your child’s teeth begin erupting, brush them gently with a child-size toothbrush and small amount of non-fluoride toothpaste
- Schedule your child’s first dental visit as soon as their first tooth appears and no later than their first birthday
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