All too often, parents dismiss the importance of their child’s baby teeth. However, their little chompers play an essential role in chewing properly and speaking clearly. Unfortunately, a phenomenon referred to as “baby bottle tooth decay” can get in the way. Keep reading to learn about the common causes as well as important prevention tactics!
What Causes Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?
Most often, baby bottle tooth decay affects the upper front teeth. But why? One of the biggest culprits is prolonged exposure, like when parents put their baby to sleep with a bottle. After all, both breast milk and formula contain sugar, which can eat away at the enamel on their teeth. Another common cause is the unintentional transfer of cavity-causing bacteria from the parent to the infant, like when a mom puts the bottle in her mouth before giving it to the child. Unfortunately, habits like these leave your child’s smile vulnerable to cavities. That’s why it’s so important to be cautious and practice proper prevention!
4 Important Tips for Preventing Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
The good news is that many dental problems, including tooth decay, are largely preventable. With this in mind, make sure to:
- Avoid sharing feeding spoons, licking pacifiers, and engaging in other habits that spread your saliva to your baby.
- After each feeding, wipe your child’s gums with a clean, damp washcloth.
- Don’t put your baby to bed with a bottle.
- When their first tooth emerges, begin brushing it with a finger brush or infant-sized toothbrush.
When to Bring Your Baby in for Their First Dental Visit
Six-month dental checkups and cleanings remove plaque, catch dental problems in the early stages, and clean the hard-to-reach areas of your mouth. Since these routine visits are a pillar of any good oral hygiene routine, they should begin at a young age. That’s why notable organizations like the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommend bringing your child in for their first visit around their first birthday or when their first tooth emerges (whichever happens first).
As a parent, you want the best for your child’s health and overall well-being. Part of that is keeping their smile cavity-free throughout the years! Fortunately, the above prevention tactics can help you do just that.
About the Practice
At Simply Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics, we are proud to have a board-certified pediatric dentist in-house, Dr. Nidhi Agarwal! She earned her Doctor of Dental Medicine from Boston University (with honors!) before completing a 2-year residency program in pediatric dentistry. Now, she spends her days happily helping growing smiles get the compassionate, effective dental care they need. If it’s time for your little one’s first visit or you think they may have tooth decay, don’t hesitate to visit our website.