Baby bottle tooth decay is a common oral health issue impacting young children. Fortunately, this problem can be easily prevented in most instances. Taking the proper steps to avoid your child developing baby bottle tooth decay will play an important role in developing optimal levels of oral health down the road.
Just about everything your child drinks other than water — milk, formula, and fruit juices — contains sugar. When these liquids are drank using a cup, the sugar doesn’t spend much time interacting with your child’s teeth, minimizing their harmful impact. However, when these drinks are consumed through a bottle, the sugar remains in your child’s mouth for longer. Bacteria will convert this sugar into acid which will start eroding your child’s teeth. This phenomenon is called baby bottle tooth decay.
When left untreated, baby bottle tooth decay can impact your child’s ability to chew and talk properly. In addition, it can result in the need for braces down the road. The American Dental Association has found that children who lose their baby teeth too early are at greater risk of having permanent teeth that are crooked or crowded.
There are several steps you can take to reduce the risk of your child developing baby bottle tooth decay. Most importantly, limit your child’s time using a bottle. It’s ok to let your child drink out of a bottle during meals, but avoid letting them drink from one all day long. If your child needs to go to sleep with a bottle, make sure it contains water. Drinking juice or milk out of a bottle all night long will significantly increase your child’s risk of tooth decay.
In addition, the following tips will help protect your child from developing baby bottle tooth decay:
- Avoid dipping your child’s pacifier in sugar, juice or other sweet liquid
- Don’t feed your child juice, soda or other sugary drinks from a bottle
- Teach your child how to drink from a cup at the earliest age possible (this can usually occur by age 1)
- Limit your child’s consumption of beverages other than water throughout the day
- As recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, limit your child to 4-6 ounces of fruit juice per day
- Before baby teeth emerge, gently wipe your child’s gums with a damp cloth after meals
- Once baby teeth emerge, brush your child’s teeth twice daily using a soft, wet tooth brush (children over the age of 2 can start using a small amount of toothpaste)
In addition, you should bring your child to our pediatric dentists for regular dental checkups as soon as baby teeth start to emerge. This will ensure any tooth decay is picked up in the earliest stages. By taking these steps, you can help maintain the health of your child’s baby teeth. This will set your child up for better oral health in years to come.
Please contact Love Brushing Dentistry using the form on this page or call 713-659-0841 today to schedule a dental checkup and cleaning for your child. We serve patients in the Pasadena and throughout the Houston, Texas area.