Because they are eventually replaced by adult teeth, you may think that your baby’s little teeth aren’t very important. If they fall out, what harm could they do, right? The truth is that your baby’s mouth can become a host for tooth decay even before those first teeth emerge.
Causes of Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
There are many factors that can cause this type of tooth decay in children, but the most common cause is the teeth’s frequent exposure to sugary drinks. Whether you use a bottle to soothe a fussy baby, or put them to bed with a bottle, you could be doing more harm than good to their gums and teeth.
As a parent, you should also see tooth decay as a disease that can begin with bacteria being passed from parent to infant. Think of any times you might have wanted to put something of the baby’s into your mouth, such as a pacifier, or feeding spoon. In these moments, bacteria can be passed on to the baby through the saliva.
Another cause for tooth decay in your infant or child can be a lack of fluoride.
What You Can Do to Prevent It
Just like most conditions in life, baby bottle tooth decay is absolutely preventable. Here are some of the actions you can take to keep decay at bay:
- After each feeding, wipe your child’s gums with a clean, damp gauze pad or washcloth.
- When the teeth do grow in, brush them with an appropriate toothbrush and small amount of fluoride toothpaste. After age three, use a pea-sized amount of paste, and continue to supervise brushing until they are around six or seven.
- Make sure that infants finish their bedtime and naptime bottles before going to bed.
- If they use a pacifier, don’t dip it in sugar or honey.
- Encourage them to drink from a cup from his or her first birthday.
Being aware of what causes tooth decay in small children and what you can do as a parent to prevent it are the best ways to protect them. If you have questions about this condition, contact Sunshine Smiles today!