Are you a new parent? If so, congratulations from Comfort Dental Centre Buderim! Your child is a great achievement and a massive responsibility.
And one responsibility, though one we normally don’t think of, is responsible for their dental health. And it can be difficult.
Fussy babies, for instance, are often comforted by their bottles and pacifiers, but did you know that overuse of the bottle may contribute to baby bottle tooth decay?
At Comfort Dental Centre Buderim, we welcome you to the ranks of parent and want to help you understand what might be the earliest threat to your child’s dental health, baby bottle tooth decay.
What Is Baby Bottle Decay?
Baby bottle tooth decay is a name for tooth decay that develops in the mouths of infants and toddlers. The name comes from the tendency of children to develop cavities after prolonged exposure to sugary drinks in baby bottles.
Tooth decay can set in if cavity-causing bacteria remain in an infant’s mouth over a long period of time. This is most often the result of putting a child to bed with a bottle of milk or juice or letting them suck on a bottle for long periods during the day.
Tooth decay can also be passed from a caregiver to an infant through shared saliva. This is why Comfort Dental Centre Buderim recommends not sharing utensils with your child or cleaning pacifiers with your own mouth.
The Importance Of Avoiding Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
It’s a common belief that losing temporary teeth early isn’t much of a problem. The thinking behind this is that since the teeth are going to fall out anyway, losing them a bit early shouldn’t be a big issue. On the contrary, however, there are several good reasons to be concerned about the early loss of baby teeth.
Baby teeth hold the spaces permanent teeth will grow into. If they are lost early, the spacing of the permanent teeth can be adversely affected, leading to misaligned permanent teeth and other issues that could require orthodontic treatment, later.
Other problems can arise as well:
- Early tooth loss can affect the ability to eat a healthy diet.
- Early tooth loss can harm the ability to speak properly. Proper pronunciation calls for the presence of front teeth, so if they are lost early, the ability to speak well can be lost as well.
- Bad hygiene habits could follow your child into adolescence and adulthood.
Symptoms Of Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
One of the problems with baby bottle tooth decay is that it can be difficult to detect.
Parents may not be aware of a problem until the damage is already done:
- Chalky or spotted teeth are one warning sign.
- Brown spots along the gumline on your child’s teeth are another sign that should alert you.
- If your child avoids hard foods or frowns or cries when eating cold, sweet, or hard foods, they should be checked for tooth decay.
Of course, prevention is the best approach.
Preventing Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
- Avoid sharing saliva with babies by sharing feeding spoons or licking pacifiers.
- After each meal, gently clean your child’s gums with a clean, damp cloth. Do this even if your child does not have teeth yet.
- When your child’s teeth erupt, begin to brush them gently with a baby’s toothbrush and a dab (or pea-sized amount) of toothpaste.
- Your child’s bottles should only contain formula, milk, or breast milk. Avoid filling bottles with sweet drinks including sugar water, juice, and soft drinks. If your child requires a bottle to sleep, fill the bottle with water.
- Infants should finish their bedtime and naptime bottles before going to bed and NOT take the bottles to be with them.
- If your child uses a pacifier, make sure it is clean and don’t dip it in anything sweet like sugar or honey.
- Encourage your child to drink from a cup by his/her first birthday.
Treating Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
If your baby has signs of tooth decay or discomfort, come see us at Comfort Dental Centre! We’ll determine the extent of the decay, deal with cavities, and help you create a plan to prevent future damage to your children’s teeth. Early visits to the dental office also help children get used to a dental health routine and begin on the road to lifelong dental health!
Comfort Dental Centre Buderim Cares
Comfort Dental Centre Buderim provides expert care for healthy, beautiful smiles. When you leave our office not only will you be happy with the treatment you received, but also how well you were treated.
We serve patients from Buderim and surrounding areas with top-notch dentistry. Our dental practice in Buderim provides the highest quality of dental care, in a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere, with a commitment to excellent customer service.
Child Dental Benefits Schedule
Bulk Bill for children who are eligible for MEDICARE CHILD DENTAL BENEFIT SCHEDULE
Up to $1000 worth of dental treatments over two years
Learn more about Child Dental Benefits Schedule
Call us on (07) 5370 8865 or visit us at T204B 32 Wises Road in Buderim