10 Jan How to Prevent Baby Bottle Decay
While your child’s baby teeth are not permanent, they will set the stage for his or her lifelong oral health. So, if your child experiences cavities and decay at a young age, it may be more difficult to maintain healthy adult teeth later in life. When tooth decay and cavities are seen in babies and toddlers, it’s referred to as baby bottle decay. However, there are also causes for tooth decay beyond the baby bottle. Here is a look at some of the strategies you should use to prevent baby bottle decay in your child.
Don’t put your baby to bed with a bottle.
A bottle can be comforting for your baby and help prevent fussiness, but letting your baby go to sleep with a bottle can promote tooth decay. Similarly, providing a pacifier dipped in sugar or honey can cause cavities, so only clean pacifiers should be used.
Avoid sharing saliva.
You may not think twice about sharing a spoon or quickly cleaning off a pacifier with your mouth, but by sharing saliva this way with your baby, you can introduce bacteria that promote decay into your baby’s mouth. Always use clean utensils for your baby and wipe his or her gums with clean, damp gauze after each feeding.
Limit sugary drinks.
Sugary drinks can feed the bacteria that cause tooth decay and increase the risk of cavities. That’s especially true for drinks given in a bottle. Never give your baby anything in a bottle besides formula, milk, or breast milk. Sugar water, soda, and even fruit juice can promote decay.
Brush teeth as soon as they emerge.
Your baby’s oral hygiene should be a priority as soon as his or her first teeth come in. When new teeth erupt, brush them with a child-size toothbrush and a small amount of fluoride toothpaste. You should brush your child’s teeth until they are able to tie their own shoes.
At the office of John R. Carson, DDS, we provide dental care for the whole family. For lifelong dental care in Tucson, call us at 520-514-7203.