When you give your baby a bottle and put her down for a nap, what’s in the bottle? If it’s milk, juice, or formula… we need to have a talk.
Baby bottle tooth decay is a severe problem. Most parents don’t think twice about the dangers that a bottle poses for their child, especially if the teeth are just barely coming in. However, that’s the time when decay can cause the worst problems. If decay sets in, it can continue to eat away at teeth under the surface of the gums. At that point, surgery is necessary in order to remove the decayed teeth before they cause too much pain.
When we put a child to sleep with a bottle, they usually fall asleep with the liquid pooling in their mouth – that’s why we usually see the most severe decay in the front teeth, especially the two bottom incisors. If that liquid contains any kind of sugar (yes, milk contains lots of sugar) then it will combine with bacteria in your child’s mouth and encourage tooth decay. Milk, formula, or any kind of juice is dangerous. The only safe drink to send a child to bed with is water. Hold your child while you feed her, and afterwards, set the bottle aside.
We know that it can be hard to change a fussy child’s nighttime routine, but if decay sets in, a child will only get more fussy, due to pain and discomfort.
Baby teeth might be temporary, but dental health is forever! Baby teeth are vital for the health and development of your child. They’re crucial in speech development, and they help your child chew and get proper nutrition. Healthy baby teeth set the stage for healthy adult teeth. They determine proper spacing as permanent teeth grow in, and keep your gums strong and healthy.
Your child should prioritize oral health from the start. Even before your baby teethes, get in the habit of wiping out their mouth with a soft clean cloth after feeding. As the first few teeth grow in, introduce a soft-bristled toothbrush and teach your child to brush every day. Once they’ve brushed their teeth for the night, don’t introduce sugary drinks back into their mouth!
Use only a rice-sized smear of toothpaste until your child has learned to brush without swallowing any toothpaste. And make sure that you schedule your child’s first visit to our office by their first birthday. This way, we can address early concerns, familiarize your child with our office, and have a happy first visit.