Even at this young age, dental care and proper hygiene is important. Infants can start teething as early as 6 months of age. The early teeth are still susceptible to cavities that need to last, though your children’s baby teeth are temporary. The development can be harmfully impacted from early cavities, or baby bottle tooth decay. Today, we at Smile Reef would like to discuss the basics of Baby Bottle Tooth Decay.

What is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?

To a child’s teeth, tooth decay is caused by the frequent and long-term exposure of liquids containing sugars. The upper front teeth are where it generally happens, but other teeth can be impacted. Baby formula, milk, fruit juice, sodas, along with other sweetened drinks are the most common culprits that contribute to baby bottle tooth decay. Due to these liquids pooling around the infant’s teeth and gums, the bacteria that causes plaque is fed. Every time a child consumes a sugary beverage, acid attacks the teeth and gums also. Tooth decay sets over several encounters. Children who frequently have their pacifier dipped in syrup, sugar, or honey as well as infants that are breast-fed who have prolonged feeding habits can develop this condition. When infants sleep with sweet beverages left in their mouth, the risk increases significantly. It will lead to infection and pain if this condition is left untreated. It will require an extraction should a tooth become severely decayed. In the event their teeth are infected or lost too early, your child may develop poor eating habits, crooked/damaged adult teeth, or speech problems.

How to Treat Cavities in Baby Teeth

Depending the child’s age, severity of the tooth decay, and other circumstances, dictates treatment for baby bottle tooth decay. You can apply preventative techniques, and your child’s dentist will discuss treatment options if you catch the condition early enough. White spots on the baby’s teeth is one of the early symptoms. To re-mineralize all of the teeth, fluoride treatment or placing fluoride varnish at this stage can be used. You will need to change your baby’s diet and eating habits as well. Fluoride treatments will no longer be sufficient, later stages of baby bottle tooth decay may develop. Symptoms of a more severe case of baby bottle tooth decay include brown or black spots on the teeth, swelling or irritability, fever, which could indicate infection, bleeding or swollen gums, and bad breath. If your child has any of these symptoms, see the dentist as soon as possible.

How to Prevent Bottle Rot

To help stave off baby bottle tooth decay, implement good oral hygiene at an early age.
1) With a clean gauze pad or washcloth, white the baby’s gums after each feeding.
2) Begin brushing their teeth with a soft bristled toothbrush without any toothpaste, or a fluoride-free one when the first tooth comes in. Ensure the gums are cleaned and massaged where there are not any teeth.
3) Once baby’s teeth come in, floss.
4) If it is not in the water supply, ask your doctor about supplements, make certain your baby is getting enough fluoride.
5) For a cleaning and checkup, schedule a dental visit around their first birthday.
6) Sugary beverage exposure needs to be limited. For diarrhea treatment, bottles should only be filled with water, milk, formula or electrolyte- enriched beverages. Avoid exposure to soda.
7) Never let your baby fall asleep with a bottle in their mouth.
8) In sweet coatings and limit sugary snacks, don’t dip the pacifier.

Pediatric Dentistry

Call Smile Reef and schedule your appointment today when your child is ready for their first dental exam or you have concerns about baby bottle tooth decay!