A child’s dental health can be established as early as infancy. At this young age, what parents do (or fail to do) in caring for baby’s teeth can greatly affect their future health. In many cases, parents neglect proper care of baby teeth because of the belief they are temporary and therefore unimportant. This is a mistake. In fact, baby teeth are more susceptible to tooth decay. Even before the appearance of the first tooth, baby’s dental health should already be well taken care of.
Tooth decay can begin forming in infants and very young children. It is referred to as baby bottle tooth decay because it is commonly caused by what parents give to a child with a baby bottle. Tooth decay or cavity is caused by bacteria that produce harmful acid that attack the teeth. The bacteria thrive on sugar and other fermentable carbohydrates left in the mouth from the food and drinks we give to children.
For babies, formula, sweetened water, and juices in the bottle can be the cause of tooth decay. Parents can start caring for baby’s dental health early by cleaning gums and teeth with a clean washcloth or gauze after every feeding. As soon as baby teeth comes in regular brushing with a baby toothbrush can greatly help. In fighting tooth decay, reducing sugar intake is also important. Some drinks and most especially, soda, should be avoided since they do not have nutritional value and rather encourage more bacteria because of its high sugar content. Pediatric dentists also recommend avoiding putting baby to bed with a bottle. When a baby falls to sleep with a bottle, liquids continue to drip into the mouth allowing bacteria to feast on it. Breastfeeding, on the other hand, is gaining popularity in decreasing tooth decay as an additional benefit aside from best nutrition. As opposed to the way a child feeds with a bottle, breastmilk gets into the mouth only when a child sucks, usually projected directly to the back of the mouth, and is immediately swallowed. Nighttime feedings are also beneficial since it increases the production of saliva raising the pH level of the mouth to normal to help avoid bacteria.
Another way to avoid baby bottle tooth decay is through regular visits with a children’s dentist. Pediatric dentists know the best way to care for baby and young children’s teeth and can help in ensuring their future health. Parents looking for a children’s dentist in Las Vegas can turn to Smile Reef. Smile Reef Pediatric Dentistry provides complete dental health delivered in a safe and fun way!