Dental care and proper hygiene are important, even at the youngest of ages. As early as 6 months of age, infants can start teething. Though your children’s baby teeth are temporary, the early teeth are still susceptible to cavities that need to last. From early cavities, or baby bottle tooth decay, the development can be harmfully impacted. The basics of baby bottle tooth decay is what we at Smile Reef would like to discuss today.

Is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay Common?

The frequent and long-term exposure of liquids containing sugars causes tooth decay in kids’ teeth. Though the other teeth can be impacted, the upper front teeth are where it generally happens. The most common culprits that contribute to baby bottle tooth decay are formula, milk, fruit juice, sodas, along with other sweetened drinks. The bacteria that cause plaque is fed due to these liquids pooling around the infant’s teeth and gums. Also, every time a child consumes a sugary beverage, acid attacks the teeth and gums. Tooth decay sets over several encounters. This condition develops, children who frequently have their pacifier dipped in syrup, sugar, or hone as well as infants that are breast-fed. The risk increases significantly when infants sleep with sweet beverages left in their mouth.

Dangers of Bottle Rot

If this condition is left untreated, it will lead to infection and pain. Should a tooth become severely decayed, it will require an extraction. Your child may develop poor eating habits, crooked/damaged adult teeth, or speech problems if their teeth are infected or lost too early.

Can You Fix Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?

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

Can You Stop or Prevent Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?

Implement good oral hygiene at an early age to help stave off baby bottle tooth decay.
1) Wipe the baby’s gums after each feeding with a clean gauze pad or washcloth.
2) When the first tooth comes in, begin brushing their teeth with a soft bristled toothbrush without any toothpaste, or a fluoride-free one. Ensure the gums are cleaned and massaged where there are not any teeth.
3) Floss once baby’s teeth come in.
4) Make certain your baby is getting enough fluoride I-if it is not in the water supply, ask your doctor about supplements.
5) Schedule a dental visit around their first birthday, for a cleaning and checkup.
6) Sugary beverage exposure needs to be limited. Bottles should only be filled with water, milk, formula or electrolyte- enriched beverages for diarrhea treatment. Avoid exposure to soda.
7) Avoid letting your baby fall asleep with a bottle in their mouth.
8) Don’t dip the pacifier in sweet coatings and limit sugary snacks.

Pediatric Dentistry

When your child is ready for their first dental exam or you have concerns about baby bottle tooth decay, call Smile Reef and schedule your appointment today.