What is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay? Should I Worry About It?
If you have very young children you may have heard about a condition called baby bottle tooth decay. It’s a condition that should be taken seriously and your pediatric dentist at the Cosmetic Dentistry Center will work with you to help avoid your child developing baby bottle tooth decay. The term refers to tooth decay that occurs in very young infants, often as a result of the child being given a bottle full of sweetened liquids or liquids containing natural sugars.
This can include liquids such as milk, fruit juice and formula and baby bottle tooth decay can be a real problem for infants teeth as the sugars from liquids can cling on to a baby’s teeth for a very long time. This gives bacteria that are naturally present in the mouth a chance to feed on these sugars and to create acids that will attack the teeth. Children who are particularly at risk include those who are given a sugary drink at night time or nap time, and this is because the flow of saliva decreases during sleep so there is less chance of the sugary liquids being washed away. Children who are given pacifiers that are dipped in honey or other sugary substances are also at risk.
Your Children’s Baby Teeth Are Very Important
Unfortunately there’s a common misconception that children’s baby teeth are purely temporary and therefore not particularly important. This couldn’t be further from the truth, as these teeth are essential for chewing food properly so your baby has sufficient nutrition to thrive, and for enabling your child to learn to speak properly. These teeth also acts as placeholders, which means they hold open the correct amount of space for the adult teeth to emerge normally. If baby bottle tooth decay does develop then you child will need treatment as the condition can be painful and could result in infection. If the teeth are particularly severely decayed then they may need to be removed by your pediatric dentist at the Cosmetic Dentistry Center.
If teeth are lost too early then there’s a chance your child may find it more difficult to eat high nutrition foods that are essential for their development, they could develop speech problems and may end up with crooked teeth that require more extensive orthodontic treatment.
Luckily Avoiding Baby Bottle Tooth Decay Is Straightforward
The good news is that proper professional dental care combined with a few preventative measures at home can help greatly decrease the risk of this condition developing. Precautions to take include:
- Wiping your baby’s gums with a clean washcloth after each feed
- Cleaning your child’s first teeth with a baby toothbrush as soon as they emerge
- Making sure you floss your children’s teeth once they are touching each other
- Scheduling regular visits with your pediatric dentist
- Not giving your child sugary drinks, fruit juices and soft drinks in bottles
- Not allowing your child to fall asleep with a drink of anything other than water
- Not dipping your child’s pacifier in anything sweet or sugary
Your dentist at the Cosmetic Dentistry Center can give you lots of advice on how exactly to care for your children’s teeth, including how to brush and floss them. They’ll also discuss the need for fluoride, and when it’s best to begin using fluoride toothpaste to clean your children’s teeth.
Kids Best Dentist Brooklyn NYC
Dr. Marina Krepkh
7708 4th Avenue 1st floor
Brooklyn, NY 11209 (Bay Ridge)