Tooth decay in infants and very young children is often called baby bottle tooth decay. This happens when liquids with natural or artificial sugars remain in an infant’s mouth for extended periods of time. Bacteria in the baby’s mouth thrive on these sugars, using them to produce acids that attack the teeth and gums. Today, Dr. Thomas Brickey would like to share some information about baby bottle tooth decay and how to prevent it.
Children whose pacifiers are dipped in sugar, honey, or syrup and those who are given bottles of sugary concoctions for naptime or bedtime comfort are at increased risk of tooth decay due to the decrease in natural saliva flow during sleep. Even fruit juice, milk, and formula contain natural sugars that can wreak havoc on tiny teeth while your little one slumbers. Here are some helpful “don’ts” for avoiding baby bottle tooth decay:
Although baby bottle tooth decay usually affects the upper front teeth the most, other teeth can be affected as well. Some folks underestimate the importance of baby teeth, but they are actually very important for children’s health and development. Not only are baby teeth necessary for chewing, speaking, and smiling, they serve as placeholders for permanent teeth that come later. Left untreated, baby bottle tooth decay can result in pain, infection, and premature tooth loss.
When children lose teeth prematurely because of baby bottle tooth decay, they may develop poor eating habits, speech problems, crooked teeth, and damaged permanent teeth. The chances that the permanent adult teeth will also be crooked and unhealthy are greatly increased by the presence of baby bottle tooth decay.
Starting a good oral hygiene routine early can help keep baby bottle tooth decay at bay:
It’s never too late to change those bad habits. Start today by:
Remember, the healthier your child’s baby teeth are, the more likely their permanent teeth will be healthy, too. If you have any questions about baby bottle tooth decay or would like to schedule a visit for your little bundle of joy, contact Natural Smiles Dentistry today!
The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.