Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
If you are bottle-feeding, you should be aware of a specific type of dental condition known as baby bottle tooth decay. This type of tooth decay is common and often affects the upper front teeth, but can also affect others.
Causes of Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Several factors can cause baby bottle tooth decay. However, exposing a baby’s teeth to sugary drinks for prolonged periods is the major cause. Tooth decay can develop by frequently putting your baby to sleep with a bottle. It can also occur if you use a bottle as a pacifier.
You can also pass cavity-causing bacteria to your baby through your saliva. When you put your child’s feeding spoon in your mouth or clean their pacifier in your mouth, bacteria from your mouth can find its way to the baby’s. Fluoride deficiency is another factor that can lead to baby bottle tooth decay.
Signs of Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Baby bottle tooth decay normally begins as white spots on the gum line of the upper front teeth. It can be difficult to see these spots in the early stages – even for a dental professional – without proper equipment.
If you suspect this condition, it’s important to have it diagnosed and treated as early as possible to prevent the decay from spreading and causing further damage.
How to Prevent Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Here are some tips to protect your baby against tooth decay:
- Clean your baby’s teeth after every breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, and after giving them any medication that contains sugar.
- Avoid putting sugary liquids in your baby’s bottle when you put them to bed.
- Never let your baby fall asleep while nursing from either a bottle or the breast.
- If your child needs more nursing time in order to self-soothe after being fed, consider giving them a bottle with plain water or a pacifier.
- Avoid using the bottle as a pacifier.
The tips above can go a long way in preventing baby bottle tooth decay and easing a lot of potential discomfort for your child.