Bottlemouth syndrome, sometimes referred to as baby bottle tooth decay, is a condition in which a child’s teeth get overexposed to sugar and they experience decay. Typically, the front teeth are the teeth most affected by bottlemouth syndrome, but any tooth in your child’s mouth can be affected.
How does bottlemouth syndrome happen? When your child drinks from a bottle that contains anything other than water—including juice or milk—the acids that these drinks produce in the oral cavity negatively affect tooth enamel. When tooth enamel is weakened, bacteria can cause the decay process or even an infection. Your child may even need oral surgery to correct the decay in bottlemouth syndrome .
Here’s what you need to know about bottlemouth syndrome to protect your child’s teeth!
Who’s at Risk to Get Bottlemouth Syndrome?
Any child that drinks from a bottle for a prolonged period of time is at risk to get bottlemouth syndrome and experience tooth decay . Typically, those most at risk to get bottlemouth syndrome are babies who:
- Have juice, milk, formula, or soda in their bottle
- Walk around with their bottle during the day
- Take their bottle to bed or naptime
- Use a bottle as a pacifier
Children should never constantly expose their oral cavity to these liquids. Even though your baby’s primary teeth will eventually fall out, it’s still important to keep them healthy. These temporary teeth act as placeholders for the adult teeth that will emerge as they grow!
What Are the Signs of Childhood Tooth Decay?
Symptoms of bottlemouth syndrome can include red or irritated gums, white spots on the teeth that could indicate early enamel damage, or a light or darker brown spot on the tooth .
Your child may also complain of sensitive teeth or pain in their mouth. However, for many, cavities don’t cause any symptoms early on, so you’ll need to rely on your experienced dentist to spot decay early during your child’s regular checkups.
Healthy Habits to Protect Your Child’s Teeth
The good news is that you can protect your child’s teeth from bottlemouth syndrome by adopting healthy habits as your baby grows. These habits include :
- Not sharing your saliva with your baby, as bacteria in your mouth can influence their risk
for tooth decay
- Brushing your child’s teeth with a fluoride toothpaste twice a day
- Avoiding putting sugary beverages, even all-natural fruit juice, in your baby’s bottle
- Never letting your child take a bottle to bed
- Teaching your child to drink from a cup by their first birthday
- Taking your child to their dentist for regular checkups, starting around their first
If you have any questions about what’s safe for your child’s smile when it comes to bottle use, don’t hesitate to ask your kid-friendly dentist. While bottle use is safe and even necessary for some children, you can protect your baby’s smile by following the above tips and being aware of the signs of early tooth decay!