Your child’s baby teeth play an important role in his or her development. Primary teeth air enunciation and speech, help the child chew correctly, maintain space for adult teeth, and prevent the tongue from pushing abnormally in the mouth. Tooth decay in early childhood, also known as early childhood caries or baby bottle tooth decay, can have a serious impact on your child’s adult teeth. We welcome you to contact Samuel Yee DDS INC for more information about baby bottle tooth decay and schedule your consultation with Dr. Samuel Yee DDS in Aliso Viejo, California.
Baby bottle tooth decay is the term used to refer to early childhood cavities, which occur primarily in infants and toddlers. This form of decay is caused by bacteria in the mouth. It can occur as a result of the child keeping a bottle in bed at night, or through the transmission of saliva between a parent and child.
When children are frequently exposed to sweetened liquids, such as breast milk, baby formula, juice, and sweetened water, these liquids can remain in the mouth for some time. Oral bacteria feed on the sugar in the mouth and emit harmful acids that attack and wear away tooth enamel.
You can prevent baby bottle tooth decay by:
- Rinsing pacifiers and toys in clean water, and use a clean spoon for each person eating. Do NOT clean the pacifiers or toys in your own mouth, or share a spoon with your child.
- Gently clean your child’s gums after each feeding with a clean washcloth.
- Use an age-appropriate soft-bristled toothbrush and an ADA-approved toothpaste when teeth begin to emerge. Use fluoride-free toothpaste for children under the age of 2.
- Use only a pea-sized amount of toothpaste after the child has learned to spit out excess toothpaste.
- Do NOT place sugar drinks in baby bottles or sippy cups. Only fill these containers with water, breast milk, or formula.
- Encourage your child to use a regular cup after he or she reaches 12 months of age
- Do NOT dip pacifiers in honey or sweet liquids.
- Help your child maintain a balanced, nutritious diet. Reduce or eliminate sugary snacks.
- Do NOT allow your child to take a liquid-filled bottle to bed. If the child insists on having a bottle, fill it with water.
- Clean your child’s teeth for them until about age 7. Before this time, they have not developed the necessary motor skills and coordination to reach all areas of their mouths.
- Ask our dentist to review your child’s levels of fluoride.
For more information about baby bottle tooth decay, and to make an appointment with our dentist, contact our practice today.