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Children and Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Baby Bottles Starting infants and toddlers off with good oral health habits will protect their teeth in the years to come. Though temporary, baby teeth are still susceptible to cavities, and one of the most common problems with children’s teeth is baby bottle tooth decay, or tooth decay in infants and toddlers. Strong, healthy teeth are important for children in chewing their food, speaking and having a strong smile, so taking steps to prevent tooth decay is vital to your child’s dental development.

Most often occurring in the upper front teeth, baby bottle tooth decay is caused by many factors. A common cause is prolonged exposure to drinks that contain sugar. When a baby is put to bed with a bottle or when a bottle is used as a pacifier, baby bottle tooth decay can occur. An increased risk for tooth decay also occurs when your infant or toddler does not receive an adequate amount of fluoride, whether through supplements or your tap water.

Mothers or primary caregivers can pass cavity-causing bacteria to their infant through saliva. So, if you put your baby’s feeding spoon in your mouth or clean a pacifier in your mouth, this can cause bacteria to transfer to your baby from you.

Numerous ways to prevent baby bottle tooth decay exist. For starters, try not to share saliva with your baby through common use of feeding spoons or licking pacifiers. You could also wipe your child’s gums with a clean, damp gauze pad or washcloth after each feeding, suggests the American Dental Association. One of the most important ways to prevent tooth decay is to brush your child’s teeth with a child-sized toothbrush and a grain-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste until the age of 3. Increase the amount of toothpaste used to a pea-sized amount between the ages of 3 and 6.

When bottle feeding, use only milk, formula or breast milk in bottles, and avoid filling the bottle with sugar water, juice or soft drinks. Ensure your infant finishes their bedtime and naptime bottles before going to bed. Similarly, avoid sugar exposure by not dipping your child’s pacifier in sugar or honey. Lastly, encouraging your child to drink from a cup by their first birthday can also help encourage healthy oral habits.

One of the best ways to prevent, control and treat baby bottle tooth decay is with a visit to your dentist. Brockport Dental has a passion for helping kids enjoy their dental visits, taking great care to make your child’s visit as comfortable and relaxing as possible. Our flexible scheduling options also help accommodate your busy lifestyle. Make an appointment online now or call us at 585-589-0000 to schedule a visit to take care of your child’s dental health today!


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