Baby Bottles and Tooth Decay
Even though a child’s infant teeth are only temporary, and later give way to permanent adult teeth, it is still important to protect the teeth against dental cavities. However, tooth decay in infants is a common concern in dentistry.
Baby bottle tooth decay is primarily caused by the long-term exposure by the child’s teeth to the sugars contained in liquids that are ingested through a feeding bottle. The most common liquids are baby milk formula and fruit juices, which pool and collect around the infant’s teeth and gums.
The sugars contained in the liquids interact with the bacteria found in plaque, which in turn can produce harmful acids which eat into and erode tooth enamel – leading in time to tooth decay and cavities.
Baby bottle tooth decay can also occur as a result of pacifier use, especially when the pacifier is dipped beforehand in a sugar-rich substance.
To help prevent baby bottle tooth decay, most dental professionals recommend that children should not be allowed to fall asleep while feeding from a baby bottle containing sugar-rich fluids.
Many parents give their infant a feeding bottle filled with formula or juice to aid in getting them to sleep. However, once asleep, the body’s production of saliva decreases, and so the sugars and acids associated with the feeding are allowed to linger around the teeth and gums, giving them more time to attack these areas.
To help prevent baby bottle tooth decay, most dental professionals recommend that children should not be allowed to fall asleep while feeding from a baby bottle containing sugar-rich fluids. In addition, the child’s gums should be cleaned and massaged regularly to help establish healthy teeth and a general feeling of a clean mouth.
Over time, the contents of the bottle can be steadily diluted with water until the child is only drinking water from the bottle. Water is the only liquid that is non-destructive to teeth, and so is safe to consume from a feeding bottle.
Regular visits to a dentist from a young age can help to instill a bond of trust between the child and the dentist, and so alleviate a child’s natural apprehension about visiting the dental office.
Upon eruption of the first tooth, standard dental hygiene activities such as brushing the teeth should commence in order to instill good practice at a young age; by doing so, the child is more likely to develop and continue good dental practices as they get older.
For more tips on how to keep your child’s teeth and gums healthy, contact My Dentist in Plano and schedule your visit today.