Many people think that tooth decay is something that happens as we age, but this isn’t true. Children are just as much at risk for tooth decay on account of all the sugar they consume. Baby bottle tooth decay is another name for tooth decay that happens to young children. Although baby teeth won’t last forever, they still play a crucial role in the health of your child’s adult teeth that will come in after the baby teeth fall out. What causes baby bottle tooth decay and what can you do to prevent it?
What Causes It
You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again—sugar is terrible for your teeth. The same is true with children, who can experience tooth decay if they frequently drink sugary drinks and then the sugar is left to sit on their teeth for long periods of time. Baby bottle tooth decay can also happen if you let your child go to bed with a bottle filled with a sweet drink. Tooth decay happens as a result of bad bacteria in the mouth that can cause cavities. Even if you’re careful about not letting your child have too many sugary drinks, you could pass bacteria from your mouth to your baby’s mouth if you share utensils, etc. Tooth decay is generally result of a combination of these factors when it comes to baby bottle tooth decay.
How to Prevent It
Tooth decay is preventable for your toddler! To help prevent baby bottle tooth decay, try not to let your saliva end up in your child’s mouth, whether it be from sharing food or cleaning pacifiers. You can also clean your baby’s gums by wiping them with a clean cloth after each meal. When the baby teeth arrive, you can already start brushing them gently!
Other healthy habits include never letting your child drink sugary drinks out of a bottle, which should only be reserved for milk, and don’t let them go to sleep with their bottle. Around the age of one, your child should be able to drink from a cup. Encourage this as well as healthy eating so your child has minimal chances of developing tooth decay among their baby teeth!
How Important Are Checkups?
Dentists are trained to notice the signs of tooth decay long before you would ever see a problem. Pain is often the last sign that things are going wrong and the teeth are damaged. Taking your child in for a checkup when their baby teeth come in can ensure everything is healthy in your baby’s mouth and that tooth decay isn’t already happening. Baby teeth are important because they allow the permanent teeth to come through properly in the jaw—you can think of it as saving space for the adult teeth to come in.
Baby bottle tooth decay is preventable, and your child can have healthy baby teeth to encourage the growth of healthy adult teeth! Remember that sugar isn’t just damaging to your child’s body—it’s also not good for their oral health, especially if their mouths are exposed to sugar for lengthy amounts of time. If you haven’t already, schedule a visit with your dentist for your child if their baby teeth have started to come in. Developing healthy habits early can save your child’s teeth!