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Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Baby bottle tooth decay is one of the most common infectious diseases or chronic infectious diseases of childhood. People don't realize but cavities are an infectious disease. Baby bottle tooth decay happens to children who are exposed to milk, juice other fluids that contain sugar for prolonged periods of time. Basically what happens is, the bacteria in your mouth use that sugar to produce acid and the acid decays your teeth.

What are the signs of baby bottle tooth decay?

Baby bottle tooth decay can start extremely early. You can, in some kids, start to notice a thinning in the enamel of the teeth, discoloration or an indention. The cavities can be there long before you even notice those. So a lot of times it's there long before you realize it.

How is baby bottle tooth decay treated?

If the cavities are small enough, then the dentist can fill them. If they're bigger, often you'll see the dentist cap the teeth or sometimes they will just pull the front teeth. You will see children with a mouth full of teeth missing at either a very young age, prior to age 5 or 6 when they would naturally lose them, or you'll see them with big, silver capped teeth. Neither one is an ideal situation for the cosmetic appearance or how the child feels about themselves.

How can parents prevent baby bottle tooth decay?

Your child should really, other than when they're sitting at the table, only be drinking water from a cup or a bottle. When they're sitting at the table, they can have milk or a limited amount of juice as it's not necessary in their diet. At a young age, as soon as those first teeth are in, using a baby washcloth to wipe the teeth down after every feeding is important. Parents can use that same wash cloth to wash their child's face but before you wash their face, stick it in their mouth, wipe off the front and back of their teeth and then wash their face.

Starting at one year of age, parents will want to start brushing their child's teeth. What that really means is, when you or your older children are brushing their teeth, give your young child their toothbrush, show them what you're doing, explain how to go up and down and back and forth and then go back over the teeth for them.​

Oral Health Pediatrics