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Baby bottle tooth decay is the name given to tooth decay in babies and young children, it is also known as infant caries, early childhood caries, and bottle mouth. Too much sugar on the teeth leads to cavities or caries, this excess of sugar comes from the milk or the formula, and other artificially sweetened snacks or juices.
Parents have the responsibility of helping their infants prevent baby bottle tooth decay, by encouraging proper dental hygiene and making sure those small pearly whites are clean. If you want to learn how to prevent your baby from suffering this terrible condition and make sure their teeth are clean and free of cavities as well as encouraging self-care techniques for when your child grows older.
Dr. Durusky offers all dental services including pediatric dentistry, so if you’re looking for a “dentist near me” in Chapel Hill call today at (919) 595-1010 to schedule an appointment!
THE ORIGINS OF BABY BOTTLE TOOTH DECAY
Baby bottle tooth decay starts when your baby’s teeth are in constant contact with sugar. The bacteria in the mouth feed on sugar, it multiplies and produces an acid which attacks the teeth’s enamel layer resulting in baby bottle tooth decay.
Your baby’s teeth come in contact with sugar through:
- Any other products containing artificial sweeteners
If your baby falls asleep with a bottle or uses a bottle or a sippy cup for long periods of times the result is a build-up of sugar coating in around the teeth causing them to decay much quicker.
HOW TO DETECT BABY BOTTLE TOOTH DECAY
Caries or cavities caused by baby bottle tooth decay may affect any of the teeth. However, they are mostly seen on the upper incisors (front teeth). Caries o cavities appear as dark spots on the teeth. If the decay is left untreated your child will experience severe pain and swelling around the affected area.
PROBLEMS TRIGGERED BY BABY BOTTLE TOOTH DECAY
Infant cavities or caries is a problematic issue. Your child’s teeth are important for chewing, speaking, and smiling, they also make room for the adult teeth. Leaving baby bottle tooth decay to run rampant will most likely result in tooth loss.
Additionally, your baby is more prone to develop poor eating habits and speech impediments if the teeth don’t grow properly. And also, when the adult teeth start to come out they will grow crookedly and cause crowding.
If baby bottle tooth decay is left to spread throughout your baby’s mouth it can cause further complications such as:
- Chronic pain
- Crooked teeth
- Difficulty chewing
- Serious infections
STOPPING BABY BOTTLE TOOTH DECAY
As long as you are conscious of your baby’s bottle-feeding habits and you properly clean their teeth after each feeding, it is possible to prevent baby bottle tooth decay from developing and becoming a serious issue.
Here are a few tips about bottle feeding you could consider:
- Don’t let your baby fall asleep with a bottle of formula, milk or juice, the sugars in it will stick to your child’s teeth
- In case your child only falls asleep with a bottle, fill it with water instead. Although you won’t find a pediatrician that will recommend living a bottle inside the crib
- Do not under any circumstances let your child walk around with a bottle dangling from their mouths
- Teach your baby to drink from a cup after the first six months. As a matter of fact, the American Dental Association recommends switching to a cup any time before your child’s first birthday
- Avoid your child getting hook on a pacifier
- Limit the amount of artificially sweetened products you five your baby
- Encourage your child to eat healthier
- Wipe your child’s gums after every meal
- As soon as the teeth start to grow, begin brushing them
- Floss your child’s teeth
- Make sure to take your baby to the dentist in Chapel Hill NC regularly
ON A FINAL NOTE
It is important to remember that proper oral habits begin at home, however, as your baby grows it is important to consider enlisting the help of a pediatric dentist. Right after your baby’s first tooth pops up, it is time to take him to the dentist. The ADA recommends that all babies visit the dentist for the first time sometime before their first birthday.
Dr. Durusky of Cornerstone Dentistry offers cosmetic dental implants in Chapel Hill. For a free consultation call (919) 595-1010 to schedule an appointment.