It seems odd to have an infant or baby start to get tooth decay. The baby is just barely starting to get teeth, so often parents think that the teeth can’t have problems yet. Baby tooth decay is a very real thing that parents often overlook until it’s too late. Smile Reef will talk about what baby bottle tooth decay is to help prevent it from happening to your child.
What Causes Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?
Baby bottle tooth decay is when an infant or toddler has tooth decay. This usually happens on their upper front teeth, but it can affect any of the teeth. One of the main causes of baby bottle tooth decay is giving your child sugary drinks from a bottle or sippy cup especially while they are falling asleep. Sugar in drinks doesn’t just come from sugary juice drinks, it can also be present in milk and baby formula. When an infant falls asleep with a bottle or sippy cup it can coat their teeth with sugar and cause tooth decay.
Bacteria in the Mouth Craves Sugar
Bacteria in your child’s mouth loves to feed on sugar. When a baby’s mouth has contact with too much sugar, either through foods or liquids, that bacteria loves it and starts to feed on it which changes the sugar into acid. This can weaken your child’s tooth enamel and eventually lead to tooth decay and cavities. It may seem odd for a baby to get cavities, but it is possible without proper care. Interesting fact, bacteria can be passed from person to person. Meaning if your child is sharing a spoon with another sibling or you use your mouth to clean the pacifier bacteria can easily be passed on to your child.
Signs of Tooth Decay in Infants
As a parent, it is important to know the signs of baby bottle tooth decay. You may first see white spots appear on your child’s gum line or dark and brown spots on the teeth. As simple as it may seem to see the signs, it may be hard to see without the proper equipment. This is why it is important to bring your child to the dentist when they turn one year old. Getting ahead of baby bottle tooth decay is important and taking your child to the dentist early can help you and your dentist to come up with a plan to help prevent it.
What Happens if Baby Tooth Decay is Left Untreated?
If you do not take care of your child’s teeth and leave baby bottle tooth decay, it can lead to many problems. Such as,
– Cavities and gum disease
– Major dental care costs
– Pain in your child’s mouth
– Infections that can start and cause other health issues
– Early baby tooth loss
– Bad eating habits
– Possible speech problems
How to Prevent Baby Bottle Tooth Rot
It may seem like a simple solution, but not letting your child sleep with a bottle of milk or juice can help your child’s teeth from getting that extra sugar from sitting in their mouth overnight. A bottle of water is healthier and better for your child’s mouth at night than any type of drink. Some other suggestions are to get off the bottle within the first year, avoid long use of pacifiers, and limit the sweets you give your baby. Cleaning your baby’s teeth after every meal or bottle can help remove the food and plaque from building up.
If you are worried about baby tooth decay or just need to get your child into the dentist, then give Smile Reef a call, and let’s set up an appointment for your child.