Although baby teeth eventually fall out, they serve several important functions, including speech production and enunciation, chewing, holding the place for adult teeth, and preventing the tongue from abnormal posturing or movement. Many children develop baby bottle tooth decay as infants, which can cause serious problems if left untreated. Our dentists and team at Adaptive Dental Associates are committed to preventing and quickly treating baby bottle tooth decay so that your child can enjoy a healthy smile. To learn more about baby bottle tooth decay in Phillipsburg, New Jersey, and to set up your child’s appointment at our office, please call us today at 908-847-4498.
Baby bottle tooth decay, also known as early childhood caries, occurs in infants and toddlers. The two most prominent causes of baby bottle tooth decay are frequent exposure to sweetened liquids and transmission of harmful bacteria from a parent’s mouth to their child’s. For example, if you share a spoon with your baby or clean their pacifier with your mouth, parental bacteria may invade your child’s mouth. Sweetened liquids, when used as a naptime or bedtime snack, remain in the mouth for extended periods of time, feeding the harmful bacteria in your child’s mouth and creating painful cavities.
Fortunately, baby bottle tooth decay is completely preventable. Here are a few things you can do to protect your child’s mouth:
- Rinse pacifiers and toys in clean water, not with your mouth
- Do not share eating utensils with your baby
- Do not give your child a sugary drink in a bottle or sippy cup, especially overnight
- Encourage your child to use a regular cup rather than a sippy cup after 12 months of age
- Do not dip pacifiers in sweet liquids
- Eliminate or limit your child’s intake of sugary snacks, and help them maintain a nutritious diet
- If your child insists on having a bottle with them in bed, fill it with water
- Clean your child’s gums after each feeding with a clean washcloth
- When your child’s teeth begin to emerge, use an ADA-approved toothbrush and toothpaste
- Clean your child teeth for them until about age 7 – before this age children do not have the motor skills to reach certain places in their mouths and effectively clean their teeth
- Ask our dentists to review your child’s fluoride levels
We invite you to contact our friendly dental office if you have questions or concerns about baby bottle tooth decay, and to make your appointment with our skilled dentists.