Eliminate Your Baby's Bedtime Bottle: Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Baby bottle tooth decay isn’t very common, but can cause serious damage to your child’s primary (baby) teeth. But what is it, how can you recognize it, and how do you avoid it? Find out now in this blog from My Kids Happy Teeth.

What Is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay/Caries?

As the name suggests, baby bottle tooth decay is a condition that’s usually caused by baby bottles. Specifically, it happens when you put your child to bed with a bottle of milk, sugar water, or any other kind of sweetened fluid.

When kids fall asleep with a bottle, some sugary liquid will tend to remain in their mouths. This rests on their teeth, and provides a food source for cavity-causing bacteria. These bacteria eat the sugar and excrete acid, which weakens the tooth and eventually causes tooth decay (cavities).

Over time, baby bottle tooth decay can cause significant damage to most of your child’s teeth, especially their upper and lower front teeth. In some cases, it may even cause premature tooth loss.

Recognizing The Signs And Symptoms Of Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

The most recognizable symptom is brown spots and dark patches on your child’s front teeth, or visible holes or pits (cavities) in their teeth. Severe cases of baby bottle tooth decay can be very extensive, and cause easily visible damage to their teeth.

You may also notice white spots early on, which indicate areas of the tooth that are weak and will be more susceptible to decay. Your child may complain of pain and toothaches, and may have swollen gums near the affected teeth.

In some cases, tooth and gum infections caused by baby bottle decay can even cause fevers. If you notice any or all of the above symptoms, you need to bring your child in to see Dr. Engineer or Dr. Raj right away. 

5 Simple Tips For Preventing Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Don’t panic. Once you know what it is, it’s really easy to avoid baby bottle tooth decay in your child. Here are 5 simple prevention tips you should implement ASAP.

  1. Drop the nighttime bottle – Never put your child to bed with a bottle of any sweetened liquid, or a pacifier dipped in honey, sugar, or anything else. If they need the comfort of a bottle, give them a bottle of tap water. Tap water has a small amount of fluoride, which can actually help strengthen their teeth.

  2. Clean their teeth while they sleep – Take a q-tip, dip it in water while your baby is sleeping, then lift their upper lips and lower lips gently, cleaning their teeth with the q-tip. Dip a new q-tip into fluoride mouthwash, then dab that onto the teeth to slow down and prevent decay.

  3. Switch to cups as soon as you can – Your child can start drinking from cups at around six months old. Switching to cups is better for their oral development and health, especially when drinking sweet liquids like milk or juice.

  4. Brush their teeth and gums twice per day – You need to start brushing your child’s teeth and gums twice a day with fluoride toothpaste as soon as they get their first tooth. Proper oral hygiene is the best way to prevent all kinds of tooth decay.

  5. See a pediatric dentist every six months – Your child should see Dr. Engineer or Dr. Raj when they turn one year old or get their first tooth, whichever comes first. Then, they should come in for a preventive visit in Bakersfield every six months. This lets the team at My Kids Happy Teeth keep an eye on their oral health as they grow!

Keep Your Child’s Mouth Healthy – Come To My Kids Happy Teeth Today!

Baby bottle decay is a big deal, but it’s easy enough to avoid once you know what it is. So make sure you’re taking care of your child’s teeth. And for more tips and advice on how to keep your child’s smile healthy, come to My Kids Happy Teeth for a consultation. During your child’s checkup, Dr. Engineer and Dr. Raj can give you all the information you need to keep your child’s smile bright and healthy as they grow. Contact us online or give us a call at (786) 465-5830 to get help right away.

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