New parents have a lot to worry about. And in addition to all the other things you need to think about to protect your child’s health, you may have heard of “baby bottle tooth decay.” What is it? Will it happen to your child if you bottle-feed them? Can tooth decay be prevented? Read on and get answers to all of these questions and more from Miles of Little Smiles in White Plains.
What Is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?
Baby bottle tooth decay is a very specific type of tooth decay that, as the name implies, is usually caused by putting your child to bed with a bottle of breastmilk, formula, milk, juice, or some other sugary beverage.
You should absolutely never do this. Why? Because when your child sleeps, they’ll suck on the bottle and a little bit of the sugary liquid will sit on their front teeth. The bacteria in your child’s mouth will feed on this sugar and excrete acid.
Then, this acid will attack their teeth and destroy the enamel. Baby bottle tooth decay usually affects the upper front teeth, which may look discolored, gray, and have visible holes or pits. Your child will also likely experience severe discomfort.
Preventing Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Now that you know the basics about baby bottle tooth decay, how can you prevent it? The good news is that it’s easy to avoid this condition entirely and protect your child’s teeth. Here’s how.
- Never put your child to sleep with a bottle unless it’s tap water – If you don’t put your child to sleep with a bottle, they will have a much lower risk of baby bottle tooth decay. If your child must have a bottle to soothe them as they sleep, fill it with tap water. Never put your child to sleep with a bottle of milk, formula, or juice.
- Clean their teeth and gums after feeding – Before your child has teeth, wipe their gums down with a clean cloth. Once their teeth start to appear, start brushing their teeth and gums with a smear of fluoride toothpaste that’s the size of a grain of rice. Switch to a pea-sized blob when your child is 2-3 and can spit on command. Kids can usually start brushing on their own around the age of 5-6, but you’ll need to brush their teeth for them until then.
- Start switching to cups by age 1 – Drinking from a cup helps prevent baby bottle tooth decay, since your child will swallow the liquid more quickly and it won’t sit on their front teeth. In addition, avoiding the use of bottles and pacifiers after the age of 1 helps encourage proper oral development.
- Avoid fruit juice and other sweet drinks – Fruit juice, soda, and any other sugary, acidic drink can raise the risk of tooth decay significantly. To prevent tooth decay, your child should only drink water, formula, and milk.
Need Help With Pediatric Oral Care? Contact Miles Of Little Smiles Today!
At Miles of Little Smiles, Dr. Mila Belgrade treats kids of all ages, including infants and toddlers! Your child should see the dentist by their first birthday, and coming to our office allows you to get a better understanding of their oral health, and get oral care tips from Dr. Belgrade.
This ensures your little one’s smile remains healthy and strong as they grow up. So don’t wait. Contact us now or call at (914) 949-6655 to schedule your child’s pediatric dentistry appointment in White Plains today.