preventing baby bottle tooth decay

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When it comes to childhood conditions that proper care and attention from parents can almost entirely prevent, tooth decay is at or near the top of the list. Often present in the form of cavities for children, tooth decay is extremely common in younger age ranges – but can also be limited or entirely prevented through proper oral care.

At Children’s Crossing Pediatric Dentistry, we’re here to help with several valuable areas of preventive dentistry available for your children. One particular type of tooth decay that’s a risk for babies and infants is one called baby bottle tooth decay – let’s look at what this condition is, some signs that your baby might be experiencing it, and how you can prevent the risks of this form of decay.

Baby Bottle Tooth Decay Basics

Baby bottle tooth decay is one of the top causes of what are known as childhood carries, the term used for cavities when they take place in children aged six or younger. The source behind this process is the same one that pre-empts many cavity and tooth decay scenarios: Sugar.

Essentially, both through formula and other drinks they consume, some children are exposed to prolonged amounts of sugar. This sugar leads to the buildup of bacteria, which in turn can lead to carries. The most common location for these carries is the upper front teeth, though they can take place in other areas of the mouth as well.

Signs and Symptoms

If you’re looking to catch any potential signs of baby bottle tooth decay early, their first signs are generally white spots that show up, either on the surface of their teeth or the gum line. Your baby may also show more sensitivity and pain reactions within the teeth.

As the condition advances, the following symptoms might be present:

  • Brown or black spots on the teeth
  • Bleeding or badly swollen gums
  • Bad breath
  • Fever symptoms

If you notice any of these latter symptoms, contact our children’s dentist at once to prevent further issues.

Preventing Decay Risks

Now, there are several things you can do to limit and even entirely prevent the risks of baby bottle tooth decay for your child:

  • Bed bottle – water only: Some parents like to send their baby to bed with a bottle of milk, but this can be a risky behavior. Milk has lots of sugar, and keeping that bottle with your child for the entire night raises their exposure to said sugar in major ways. The same can be said for juice and juice-like beverages. If your child likes a bottle during sleep, we highly recommend water only.
  • Gum cleaning: After each feeding, wipe your child’s gums with a clean, soft cloth that’s been run under cool water.
  • Sugar-heavy food and drinks: Do your best to limit these on a daily basis.
  • Brushing: When your child’s first teeth begin to arrive, start brushing them immediately with a children’s toothbrush. You need very small quantities of toothpaste early on.

For more on preventing baby bottle tooth decay, or to learn about any of our kids’ dentist services, speak to the staff at Children’s Crossing Pediatric Dentistry today.