One of the most widespread diseases among children today is tooth decay. Many people do not consider tooth decay when they are thinking about diseases but it is indeed a disease. Tooth decay is the destruction of your tooth enamel. Tooth enamel is the hard, outer layer of your teeth. Tooth decay is five times more common than asthma, four times more common than childhood obesity, and 20 times more common than childhood diabetes. The good news about tooth decay is that it is almost entirely preventable! Today here at Smile Reef we want to give you some information about tooth decay and how to prevent it.
What Causes Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?
One large source of tooth decay in children comes from the baby bottle. Baby bottles are used to feed infants who cannot eat solid food yet. They are a fabulous tool for parents to be able to use with their babies. Baby bottle tooth decay occurs when the sugar from milk, formula, or fruit juice cling to an infant’s teeth for long periods of time. Bacteria in the mouth will thrive on this sugar and turn it into acids that will attack the child’s teeth. Another frequent cause of baby bottle tooth decay is when parents or caregivers lay a baby down to sleep at nighttime or naptime with a bottle that has anything except water in it. It is extremely common for parents to lay their sweet baby down for a nap with a bottle of milk. As the baby gets older many times the bottle of milk will turn into a sippy cup of juice. As the baby is sleeping the sugar from the milk or juice sits on their teeth and decay starts to form. You should not send your baby or toddler to bed with a bottle or sippy cup full of anything but water.
How to Prevent Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Both pacifiers and bottles can increase the risk of baby bottle tooth decay. Many people dip pacifiers into sugar or syrup to help calm their baby down. This sugar sits in the babies’ mouth and eventually causes decay. Sugar and syrup should not be used on pacifiers. In addition to monitoring the type of liquids that you are giving your baby and toddler you also need to start cleaning their gums after each feeding. You can simply wipe their gums with a clean wash cloth that has been dampened with cool water. Once your child starts to develop teeth you will want to start brushing their teeth and gums. You will want to use a children’s toothbrush that has nice soft bristles. You only need a very small amount of toothpaste. You can also help prevent bottle tooth decay by limiting sugary drinks and foods for your baby and toddler. Repeated or prolonged exposure to sugary foods and drinks can lead to tooth decay. You will want to feed your child a healthy diet with low sugar to help keep their teeth nice and clean.
Introducing your child to the dentist at an early age is also an excellent idea. Smile Reef encourages parents to bring their children in to the dentist when their first tooth comes in. Then you should continue checkups and cleaning every six months just like you do for yourself. Give us a call today to schedule your appointment!