Baby Bottle Decay

BABY BOTTLE TOOTH DECAY

It’s always very tempting to use the easiest possible method for quieting a fussy baby during the day or night. Comfort and pacification can come from wholesome foods such as milk, breast milk, formula or from sweetened liquids. Such an approach is also an “easy out” when putting your child to bed. But these easy solutions can cost you dearly. There is a better way.The problem is that almost any food or drink which remains on the teeth for very long can promote tooth decay. When such feedings become more frequent your child’s teeth are being exposed to danger for more and more time. The result can be what is known as baby bottle tooth decay. It can destroy the teeth of young children. The problem is most likely to occur where it shows the most, on the upper front teeth! All children are susceptible to this process if bottle feeding occurs long after primary teeth erupt, especially if plaque formation is allowed to accumulate on the teeth.It may be tempting to wait for signs of problems before addressing this situation. However, by time the decay is noticeable, it is sometimes too late to save the teeth. Any tooth, no matter how new, can decay quickly if this type of exposure occurs.

Since baby teeth will be replaced some day, should you be concerned? You bet, and there are several reasons why teeth are important to chewing. Chewing is important to absorption of nutrition. Nutrition is important to your child’s growth, health and development.

Teeth are important to appearance. Appearance is important to your child’s self esteem. Your child’s self esteem is important to their self confidence. Their self confidence may well determine their degree of success in every area of life.

Baby teeth are placeholders for permanent teeth. If the baby teeth are lost too early, permanent teeth may come in too crowded or crooked. If that happens you may have to choose between more extensive orthodontic work or teeth which are out of alignment and perhaps unsightly and uncomfortable for life. Early care can save lots of money in the future and help prevent unnecessary treatment for your child.You can prevent baby bottle tooth decay in the following ways. After each feeding, use a washcloth or gauze pad to remove plaque. After the first tooth arrives, use a brush on the tooth and wipe the gum pads clean. Flossing should begin when any two adjacent teeth have arrived and are closely spaced. That usually occurs at about age two. Promptly remove any bottle containing any form of sugar when your infant falls asleep. Substitute plain water by 8 to 10 months of age, sooner if your baby erupts primary teeth early. If you don’t intend to clean your child’s teeth afterwards, use a clean pacifier (never one dipped in honey or anything sweet) or nursing bottles filled with cool water.

See that your child gets proper fluoride doses as prescribed by your dentist or pediatrician.

Make sure your child’s first dental visit occurs before the first birthday, then maintain a regular visit schedule and follow your dentist’s advice.