Parents may not realize it, but baby bottles can put their infants and toddlers at risk for tooth decay. When drinks containing sugar, such as fruit juice or soda or even milk or formula, come into contact with a baby’s teeth for an extended period of time, they can contribute to decay. The sugars in those drinks will serve as a source of nutrients for the bacteria that create acidic byproducts of digestion, which in turn cause cavities. Babies face a similar risk when parents dip pacifiers in sugar or honey before giving the pacifier to a child.
Fortunately, parents can take steps to prevent baby bottle decay. Refrain from putting your child to sleep with a bottle, unless the bottle contains water. The risk of decay is increased while your baby is asleep because saliva production goes down, making less of it available to clear away the sugars.
You can be taking other steps to promote optimal oral health for your baby, as well. Did you realize that it’s recommended for a child to see a dentist for the first time before his or her first birthday? This gives the dentist a chance to observe your child’s baseline at the beginning of dental development and monitor your child for any changes or deviations that may be cause for concern.
Parents can also begin a basic oral hygiene routine for their infants. With very young babies whose first tooth has not yet erupted, the gums can be cleaned gently using a wet washcloth. When your child’s teeth begin to come through, you can begin using a soft toothbrush and non-fluoride toothpaste.
It’s important to protect your child’s baby teeth from decay, which can be caused by a child’s bottle habits. When your child loses baby teeth prematurely, it can have negative effects for the permanent teeth that will follow. Prevent these outcomes by limiting your child’s consumption of sugary beverages, and schedule a check-up for your child by his or her first birthday.
Contact our team at The Dental Place for more tips like these!