What is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?

What is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?
Posted on 10/13/2016

When the pacifier won’t stay in, we know it’s tempting to coat your child’s pacifier in something sweet. You think to yourself—a little tasty treat might be nice, right? But a sugar-coated pacifier or even just a sugary drink at bed-time could set your child up for a lifetime of problems. If you’re lucky, these problems can be fixed with a lot of time and money, but most of the time, your child will fall victim to the effects of baby bottle tooth decay.

What exactly is baby bottle tooth decay? When acids in the mouth react with the sugars in liquids, this can cause those acids to attack the teeth, causing the tooth to rot. Often times, natural sugars in baby formula can mix with the acids in the mouth to cause baby bottle tooth decay, but children who drink especially sugary drinks are more at risk than most. This can especially occur during periods of long exposure to the sugars, like with pacifiers or a bottle before bed.

So what? You think. They’re just baby teeth, they’re going to fall out anyway!

Baby teeth are more important than you think. While it seems obvious, remember that baby teeth develop for a reason. If we didn’t need them, why would they be there? Baby teeth play a huge role in helping your child learn how to bite and chew their first foods healthily and safely. They also hold spaces for adult teeth to come in correctly. Without the baby tooth to hold that space, the adult tooth may not come in at its correct spot. Additionally, they aide your child’s facial development and even help your child grow accustomed to pronouncing new sounds for the first time. If you’re not careful, the future problems caused by tooth decay at an early age could send you not only to pediatric dentists in Stuart multiple times a year, but also speech therapists.

How can you help save your child from the effects of baby bottle tooth decay? The Children’s Dentistry of Stuart has a few pointers for you. For one, you’re going to want to wipe your child’s gums after each feeding. Make sure the gauze or washcloth is clean. Also, it might seem silly, but when your child’s first tooth emerges—start brushing! You won’t need to use toothpaste right away for one tooth, but if you do decide to use it, make sure you choose a fluoride-free one. Once your child’s baby teeth have come in, floss them all daily, and begin to make sure your child is receiving enough fluoride to stave off pesky cavities.

What does this kind of tooth decay look like? You’re going to want to watch out for brown or black spots on the teeth, breath with odor or any bleeding or swelling in the gums. Additionally, keep in mind that a fever could indicate infection is manifesting in the body.

Remember—resist the urge to fill bottles with soft drinks or juices. Aside from the negative effects of empty calories, prolonged exposure to sugars will have a tangible effect on your child’s teeth. Avoid dipping your child’s pacifier in sweet liquid. Before bedtime, saliva flow increases dramatically, increasing the likelihood of long-term effects due to exposure to sugar. As elementary as it seems, it’s a good idea to decrease sugar intake in your child’s overall diet. Besides, aside from the inconvenient effects of rotting baby teeth, the condition will cause your child immense pain and discomfort at an early age. Why put them through that just for one moment of short-term sugary bliss? Take action early on to prevent costly visits and unplanned inconveniences. The pediatric dentists in Stuart truly care for the well-being of your children, and when you visit us, we want to see the full-toothed smile you’ve always dreamed they’d have.