Tooth decay in infants and young children is often referred to as baby bottle tooth decay. Baby bottle tooth decay occurs when bacteria from unsweetened liquids and natural sugars attach to the baby’s teeth for too long. The bacteria leads to increased acidity and results in tooth decay. Babies frequently exposed to sugars or syrup coated pacifiers carry a high risk of tooth decay. 

Naturally, it is easy to overlook this condition since an infant’s teeth are only temporary. However, tooth decay in infants and toddlers can lead to bigger problems in the future. 

First, your baby needs their teeth for speaking, chewing, and smiling. Untreated teeth decay may cause pain and infection. 

When the teeth become infected, they may fall out too early or may need to be removed surgically. The early loss can result in speech problems, crooked teeth, poor eating habits, and damaged adult teeth. 

Signs of Baby Tooth Decay

Look out for white spots around the gum line on the upper front teeth. It is hard to spot these signs. However, with regular visits to the dentist they should be easy to find early on, preventing further problems. 

Preventing Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Preventing baby bottle tooth decay is vital. Fortunately, there are simple rules you can apply to keep your little one’s teeth clean and healthy.

  1. Avoid Sugar
  • Use bottles for formula, water, milk, and special electrolytes (for diarrhea). Avoid filling bottles with soft drinks, juice, and sugar water. 
  • Your child shouldn’t fall asleep with a bottle containing anything but water.
  • Avoid dipping your child’s pacifier in sugars or syrups.
  • Limit sugar in your child’s regular diet.

 

  1. Maintain A Strict Brushing Regimen
  • Even if your baby has no teeth, clean and massage their gums with a washcloth or gauze pad after meals.
  • Start brushing their teeth from the very first tooth without toothpaste. If you choose to use toothpaste, purchase fluoride-free baby toothpaste until your child is at least two years old.
  • Begin flossing as soon as your baby has two teeth.

 

  1. Maintain a Healthy Diet and Dental Routine
  • Ensure your baby has enough fluoride from their water or talk to your New Westminster dentist about an ideal supplement.
  • Begin visiting a New Westminster dentist within six months of your baby’s first tooth appearance or by their first birthday.
  • If your child already drinks sweetened liquids, it is never too late to break the routine. You can wean your child off sweetened liquids by gradually diluting their bottle mixtures with water over the next 2 to 3 weeks. 

 

If your child is already experiencing baby bottle tooth decay, be sure to have it treated as soon as possible to stop further damage. Schedule an appointment with Asante Dental today to maintain your baby’s adorable smile.