Baby bottle tooth decay is a serious dental condition which can destroy the teeth of your infant/young child.
Here at Appledore in Milton Keynes, we have seen that this can cause painful toothaches for your child which can hinder their eating and can affect their well being. Severely decayed teeth can become infected and then need to be extracted. If your child’s teeth are infected or lost too early due to baby bottle tooth decay, they may have some of these problems:
- Poor eating habits
- Crooked teeth
- Speech problems
- Damaged adult teeth
- Yellow or brown adult teeth
Parents sometimes don’t realise that their baby’s teeth are susceptible to decay as soon as they appear in their mouths. By the time decay is noticed, it may be too late to save your child’s teeth.
Your child’s upper front teeth are the most susceptible to damage, however their other teeth can also be affected. The frequent and long-term exposure of a child’s teeth to liquids containing sugars ie milk, formula, fruit juice, fizzy sweetened drinks, and other sweetened drinks is the cause of this condition.
The sugars in these liquids pool around your infant’s teeth and gums, feeding the bacteria that cause plaque. Each and every time your child consumes a sugary liquid, acid attacks their teeth. After numerous attacks, tooth decay can occur, resulting in baby bottle tooth decay.
Parents and carers should be especially concerned with giving their infant a sugary drink at nap or night time. During sleep, the flow of saliva decreases, allowing the sugary liquids to pool around your child’s teeth for an extended period of time.
- Breast feed your baby (if you are able to)
- After each feed wipe your child’s teeth and gums with a damp wash cloth or small soft toothbrush to remove plaque
- Begin brushing your child’s teeth as soon as their first tooth erupts.
- Never allow your child to fall asleep with a bottle containing a sweetened liquid – If your child refuses to fall asleep without a bottle, simply fill it with water and nothing else
- If your local water supply does not contain enough decay-fighting fluoride, check with your dentist to see if your child should receive fluoride supplements
- Start dental visits when your child is aged between six and twelve months to get them into the habit of having their mouths checked.