Although baby teeth will one day be replaced by permanent teeth, it is important that baby teeth are taken care of. Having healthy, strong teeth allows infants and children to chew their food and to develop proper speech patterns. Baby teeth also ensure that your child’s adult teeth will come in properly and give them a great-looking smile.
If an infant or toddler experiences tooth decay, it is referred to as baby bottle tooth decay. It can be prevented by regular visits to the dentist and by following the preventions listed below.
Causes of Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Exposure to sugary drinks is one of the most common causes of baby bottle tooth decay. This can happen when babies or toddlers are put to bed with a bottle or a bottle is used to soothe a fussy baby.
Bacteria is the main cause of tooth decay, and it can be passed from the mother to the child. If a mother uses her mouth to clean either the child’s spoon during feeding or a pacifier, bacteria are inadvertently passed along, potentially leading to tooth decay.
Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay, but babies and infants might not receive an adequate amount. This can be remedied through the use of fluoride toothpaste.
Ways to Prevent Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Some ways to prevent baby bottle tooth decay include the following.
- Never put anything in a bottle except breast milk, milk, or formula, and have your child finish it before they lay down. This will help alleviate some exposure to the sugars in various drinks.
- For mother’s, try not to share your bacteria by cleaning your child’s spoon or pacifier in your mouth.
- Use a child-sized toothbrush and a small amount of fluoride toothpaste to brush your child’s teeth when they first come in until they are 3. From the ages of 3 to 6, use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste to brush their teeth.
- Healthy eating habits are essential to both the child’s health and strong teeth. Make sure to encourage this throughout their growing life.
A Lifetime of Good Habits
Scheduling regular checkups with a dentist will help ensure teeth are being properly taken care of and to catch any issues that might arise before they become detrimental. Infants and babies might not have their baby teeth for their entire life, but encouraging good habits early on will set them up for success when their permanent teeth arrive.