Baby bottle tooth decay is the term for cavities in infants and young children. A common cause for this problem is formula or milk, hence the name. However, the true culprit is drinking and eating habits. Drinking and eating too much sugar, whether in milk, juice, or snacks can lead to this kind of tooth decay (commonly called a cavity).
According to Healthline, “Baby bottle tooth decay usually occurs on the front teeth, or ‘incisors.’” Tooth decay can begin as soon as the first tooth emerges, so creating healthy oral habits for your child as soon as the first tooth erupts is vitally important. Here are three ways to prevent tooth decay for your little one.
1. Be strategic with food
Mealtime is the best time for children to drink juice or milk. Otherwise, the safest drink is water, especially if your child carries a cup throughout the day. Any other sugary drink will leave sugar on the teeth, letting bacteria change the sugar to acid, which attacks the teeth. Drinking bottles or sippy cups in bed is especially dangerous, since the acids have all night to eat at your child’s teeth.
Don’t let your children snack on sugary foods during the day, unless you brush their teeth afterwards. Even then, limit the amount of sugary snacks. For babies, wipe their gums with a clean cloth after each feeding.
2. Take simple precautions
Since cavity-causing bacteria can be transferred through saliva, don’t clean your baby’s pacifier with your mouth or drink from their cup.
Flouridated water helps protect your children’s teeth against cavities. Once your children are old enough to spit all the toothpaste out and not swallow any, you can also let them use flouridated toothpaste.
The American Acadamy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends not allowing children under 6 months of age to drink any juice. They also recommend that children 6 months -12 months drink no more than 4 ounces a day and only drink juice diluted with water in a half-to-half ratio. For children 1-6 years old, they recommend drinking no more than 6 ounces a day.
Begin brushing your little one’s teeth as soon as the first tooth erupts. It’s never too early to start establishing good oral health!
3. Keep the dentist involved
You can schedule your baby’s first dentist appointment, once his or her first tooth erupts. Keeping a dentist involved throughout your little one’s childhood will greatly benefit your child’s oral health. The AAP recommends that you find a dental home for your children by the time they’re 6 months old.
These three tips will significantly decrease the chance of your child suffering baby bottle tooth decay. If you have any more questions about this topic, feel free to contact us! We’d love to help.