At Caring Smiles Dental, we want to make sure your children are healthy and happy. From a young age, it is important for children to take care of their teeth in order to prevent cavities. Even though their baby teeth are temporary, children and infants are still susceptible to cavities and tooth decay.
According to the American Dental Association, tooth decay in infants and toddlers is referred to as baby bottle tooth decay or early childhood caries. The following addresses what exactly baby bottle tooth decay is and simple ways to prevent it.
In order to understand the effects that baby bottle tooth decay can have on your children, it is important to know the importance of baby teeth. Although your child will lose all their baby teeth before their adult teeth come in, children still need their baby teeth to be strong in order to chew food, speak well, and have a nice smile. The presence of healthy baby teeth also helps their adult teeth to come in correctly. Starting a good oral care routine at a young age, builds a foundation for healthy teeth and gums for years to come.
Baby bottle tooth decay is an oral disease that most commonly stems from a baby being exposed to sugar in drinks. Tooth decay can also occur when a baby is put to bed with a bottle, or a bottle is used as a pacifier. While baby bottle tooth decay usually occurs in the front teeth, it can happen in surrounding teeth as well.
Tooth decay can also start from cavity-causing bacteria passed to the child through saliva. For example, if the child’s mother cleans a baby’s pacifier with her mouth then gives it to her child the bacteria can be introduced into the baby’s mouth. Children may also be susceptible to tooth decay, if they do not receive the right amount of fluoride.
Luckily, there are several ways to prevent tooth decay in your infants and toddlers. First, try to avoid the exchange of saliva with your children. After feeding, it is also helpful to wipe your children’s gums with a clean, damp washcloth. While your child is still using a bottle, it is important that they do not fall asleep with the bottle in their mouth. Also, avoid putting juice, soda, or other sugary drinks in their bottle.
Once your child’s baby teeth start coming in, brush his/her teeth daily with a child’s size toothbrush and small amount of toothpaste (about the size of a grain of rice). Once your child reaches the age of three, you can increase the amount of toothpaste to the size of a pea. Always watch your child while they brush their teeth to ensure that they spit the toothpaste out. After about the age of six or seven, they will be able to brush their teeth unsupervised.
You should also encourage healthy eating habits and help your child to only drink out of cups by his/her first birthday. You should also provide them with clean pacifiers, and never dip them in sugar or honey.
Your child’s smile is one of the most precious things they posses. Help avoid baby bottle tooth decay by following these steps. We care about the health of your child’s teeth and gums! For any questions on baby bottle tooth decay, or to make an appointment for your little one, contact us today!