When an infant or toddler has tooth decay, it is often referred to as baby bottle tooth decay. Primary teeth, which are commonly called baby teeth, are temporary, but they are important. Your child needs healthy, strong teeth so they can chew their food and speak properly. Healthy teeth also help your child have a healthy-looking smile. Primary teeth are placeholders that help guide the permanent teeth into their correct positions. Oral care should begin when your child is still an infant so that they can have a healthy smile for years to come.
Baby bottle tooth decay may occur when liquids that are sweetened or that have natural sugars are exposed to the teeth for long periods of time. Bacteria in the mouth uses this sugar to make acids that attack the teeth. The following can increase the possibility of baby bottle tooth decay:
• Putting sugar, syrup, or honey on your baby’s pacifier
• Giving your infant a sugary drink at nap time or bedtime
• Putting your baby to bed with a bottle
• Putting your baby’s feeding spoon or pacifier in your mouth
• Not receiving enough fluoride
How Should I Care for My Child’s Smile?
• Put only formula, milk, or breastmilk in your baby’s bottles. Avoid putting sugary drinks like juice in your baby’s bottle.
• After feeding your baby, wipe their gums with a clean, damp washcloth or gauze pad
• Once your baby’s teeth start coming in, gently brush them using a child-size toothbrush and a smear of toothpaste
• From the ages of three to six, brush with a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste
• Supervise your child when he or she brushes their teeth until they learn not to swallow toothpaste
• Be sure that your child is getting enough fluoride, as this helps prevent cavities. If your water supply does not contain fluoride, ask our dentist if you need to use a supplement.
• Start taking your child to the dentist by his or her first birthday.
We invite you to contact our office today to learn more about avoiding baby bottle tooth decay in Payson, Utah, and to schedule your child’s next appointment with Dr. Kevin J. Reece.