Cavities can set in at an early age – even while your child is still being bottle-fed. Infants and toddlers that experience tooth decay are said to suffer from ‘baby bottle tooth decay.’ Dentists specializing in children’s dental care see this childhood dental condition too often. Early decay can cause children to suffer unnecessarily and losing a tooth too early can impact important aspects of dental development. What can you do to protect against ‘baby bottle tooth decay’?
Keep your saliva to yourself – Don’t swap spit with your baby by putting feeding utensils in your mouth first or cleaning pacifiers in your mouth. Doing so could give cavity-inducing bacteria a free ride straight into your baby’s mouth.
Don’t fill bottles with ANY sugary drink – Reserve the use of bottles for breastmilk, formula, or milk. Juice, soda, or sugar water should not be given to your baby or toddler in a bottle. In fact, at Sunshine Smiles, we recommend that your child not develop a juice or soda habit at all!
Clean your child’s gums and/or teeth after bottle-feeding – Use a damp cloth or gauze to clean the gums of an infant, or a small smear of toothpaste on a toothbrush for toddlers with teeth. Avoid letting your child fall asleep with the bottle during naps or at bedtime.
Graduate to a cup by the age of 1 – Teach your child to learn to drink from a cup and a straw by the time they turn a year old.
By following these tips, you will help your baby avoid early tooth decay and start a lifetime of good habits. Learn more about how to best care for your little one’s dental health at your first ‘Baby and Me’ visit with your children’s dentist.