Despite the fact that children’s teeth are temporary, they are still prone to tooth decay and cavities. These cavities in toddlers and infants are called as Baby Bottle Tooth Decay, or Early Childhood Caries. Your child needs strong, healthy teeth to chew their food, have a good smile and speak.
Initial teeth growth makes sure their adult teeth come in correctly. It’s necessary to start infants off with good oral care to help protect their teeth for decades to come.
What Causes Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?
This decay can be observed in the upper front teeth, but there is possibility of other teeth getting affected.
There are several factors that cause tooth decay. Most common cause is prolonged and frequent exposure to drinks high sugar. It can also occur when the baby is put to bed with a bottle, or when a bottle is used as a pacifier for a fussy baby.
Passed down from mother to the infant tooth decay begins as a disease with cavity-causing bacteria. Saliva carries these bacteria. When the mother shares the same spoon while feeding the baby the bacteria is passed down to the child.
If your baby does not receive enough fluoride, they may also have an increased risk for tooth decay. However, the good news is that decay is preventable.
Preventing Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Avoid sharing the same utensils that can potentially pass your saliva to the baby. Wipe your child’s gums with a clean, damp gauze pad or a washcloth.
When your baby starts teething, gently brush them with a child-sized toothbrush and a smear (or a grain of rice sized amount) of fluoride toothpaste up to the age of 3.
From age of 3-6 use fluoride toothpaste in pea sized amount for regular brushing of teeth.
You need to supervise brushing until your child can spit and not swallow toothpaste on their own, which is usually not until they’re 6 or 7.
Use bottles only for formula, breast milk or milk. Avoid filling them with sugary water, juices or any aerated drinks.
Infants should strictly finish their bedtime and naptime bottles before sleeping.
If your baby uses a pacifier, provide a clean one. Don’t dip it in sugar or honey.
Let your child start drinking from a cup by his/her first birthday.
Encourage your child to have healthy eating habits.