Baby bottle tooth decay is a common problem in infants and toddlers. Baby bottle tooth cavities are tooth decay in small babies. This cavity occurs mostly in children of 1 to 2 years of age when their first teeth appears. Often tooth decay occurs in the upper front rows but other teeth can also be affected.
What causes baby bottle tooth decay?
Baby bottle decay happens in the first two years of child’s life when the teeth are cavity prone. It occurs as a result of feeding the baby with a bottle of sugary drink or milk or juice or sweet liquid before a nap. Babies are allowed to sleep off with a bottle of milk containing sugars as a result sugary substances tend to stay longer in the teeth.
During sleep, saliva production is decreased and at that time bacteria make use of the sugars in the teeth to feed. The sugars are used by the cavity causing bacteria to produce acids that attacks the toddler’s teeth to cause tooth decay.
Other factors that contribute to baby bottle tooth decay include mother placing her baby’s feeding spoon in her mouth for tasting baby’s food and transferring bacteria through her saliva to the baby. Also inadequate amount of fluoride in your toddler can increase the risk of having tooth decay.
How to prevent baby bottle tooth decay?
These are some of the preventive measures to protect your toddler’s teeth from getting decay.
- Avoid feeding bottle before nap- Don’t give your baby a bottle of milk or juice or any sugary drinks before sleeping or during bed time. Do not practice this bottle feeding habit before nap. Once it has become a habit, your baby will not sleep without sipping a bottle and this will cause tooth decay for sure.
- Give water for milk- Instead of giving your baby milk or some juice to sip in, try giving a plain water or give diluted juice. Giving a toddler a bottle of plain water before sleeping will prevent sugary substances from clinging to the teeth for longer time.
- Sippy cup- Make a habit for your baby to drink from a Sippy cup or regular cup instead of a bottle. Cups prevent any liquids from accumulating around the teeth and thus prevent tooth decay.
- Don’t use a bottle as a pacifier- Bottles should not be used as a pacifier. Avoid giving your baby a bottle of juice or milk to suck on throughout the day. Give a baby bottle only in mealtimes. Also your baby’s pacifiers should be clean and dry. Never dip a pacifier in honey or sugary syrups to moisten it. Minimize your baby’s sugar intake between meals.
- Cleaning- Clean your toddler’s teeth by wiping the gums with a clean washcloth after every feeding. Use baby toothbrush to brush the teeth and floss at least one a day as soon as your baby’s first tooth comes in.
Last but not the least take away the bottle sucking habit by the time your baby is one year old. You can introduce a cup to your toddler. Ensure your child is getting enough fluoride. Don’t forget to plan frequent dental visits as soon as your child’s first tooth arises.
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