Don't let bottle rot ruin your baby's beautiful smile.
What is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?
Baby bottle tooth decay, also known as bottle rot and nursing bottle mouth, is tooth decay in a child’s first set of teeth, or primary teeth.
As the name suggests, baby bottle tooth decay is often caused when parents allow their baby to fall asleep or nap with a bottle in their mouth. It’s not the container that matters, it is what’s inside.
Typical liquids and drinks such as juices, formula, or even breast milk contain sugars that feed and fuel decay-causing bacteria. When left in a sleeping child’s mouth, these sugar-containing liquids become a bacterial soup that pools and collects around their teeth.
Natural saliva production often decreases while a child sleeps. Saliva contains many anti-microbial properties and is critical for a healthy mouth. Reduced saliva and an influx of sugary liquids is a recipe for dental disaster.
A telltale sign of bottle rot is tooth decay in the front set of teeth which are often exposed to sugary liquids longer when bottle feeding.
Evidence of decay includes brown or black spots on teeth, bleeding or swollen gums, and bad breath. Fever, facial swelling, and irritability could point to a dental infection. If any of these signs are present, take your child to Willow Pass Dental Care in Concord, CA as soon as possible.
Why is Protecting Baby Teeth Important?
Healthy baby teeth lead to healthy grown-up teeth.
Besides allowing a child to eat, speak, and smile properly, primary teeth also serve as important placeholders for permanent teeth. When a baby tooth is lost as a result of trauma, decay, or disease, and is not replaced, other teeth may migrate into the empty space. This creates dental havoc when the adult teeth begin to erupt into spaces where they do not fit properly. Furthermore, a crooked, broken, or incomplete set of teeth can hinder a child’s development of speech and eating habits. In school-age children, it can have adverse effects on their self-esteem.
How to Prevent Baby Bottle Decay
By far the easiest and most efficient way to avoid bottle rot is to take away the bottle, juice box, or any other drink container when a child falls asleep. Practicing healthy baby dental hygiene after feedings and in general is an excellent way to stave off baby tooth decay.
Wiping a child's teeth and gums with a piece of clean cloth or gauze after each feeding can remove any extra sugary substances from their teeth. Brushing and flossing, or gently massaging the gums in areas without teeth, will help keep the teeth and mouth clean.
As the child grows, parents should strive to wean them off the bottle and onto a sippy cup by their first birthday. Gradually diluting and replacing the contents of a bottle with water is also a good strategy for weaning a child off the bottle and preventing bottle rot.
One of the most effective ways to care for your baby’s dental health is to take them to Willow Pass Dental Care for regular check-ups before their first birthday. Also, be sure to inquire about our baby-safe dental sealants which help in preventing tooth decay.
Care for Your Baby’s Teeth
Dental care for very young children and toddlers can be frustrating. Children aren’t always the most vigilant brushers and flossers and often require parental supervision to not only maintain healthy teeth but also to learn the basics of dental hygiene.
The American Dental Association recommends that parents brush their children’s teeth for them until they reach the age of six to ensure good oral health.
3 Easy Ways to Prevent Baby Bottle Rot
Junk foods such as candy should be limited. Other starchy snacks, such as crackers and chips which are also broken down quickly in the mouth into sugars should also be controlled and only served during meal times.
One of the most overlooked areas of a child’s diet when it comes to limiting excess sugars is what your child drinks. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does not recommend juice for children younger than 6 months old. Even for children older than 6 months, it is suggested that juice should be diluted with water to reduce sugar intake.
Limit the Bottle
Don’t give your child access to a bottle at all times. Bottles should be reserved for feeding sessions only, and then promptly removed. Leaving a bottle or food with a sleeping baby exposes their teeth to enamel-destroying bacteria, and can also be a dangerous choking hazard.
Get Fluoridated Water
Fluoridated water is beneficial to the health of a child’s teeth. Fluoride is a critical mineral that aids in the repair and maintenance of a tooth’s enamel. In fact, fluoride can even reverse early tooth decay in children by remineralizing their teeth. For families without access to fluoridated water, consider fluoride supplements. Providing your child fluoridated water is an easy way to build healthy teeth!
Bring Your Child to Willow Pass Dental Care for A Dental Checkup Today!
Willow Pass Dental Care is known as the leading dentist in Concord, CA.
Willow Pass Dental Care is dedicated to providing you with the best pediatric dental care for your children. Our team of dental professionals will help identify any signs of dental problems before they get out of hand, address any pressing dental concerns, and provide you with the care and advice you and your child need to build healthy dental habits.
Call us today at 925-326-6114 or complete the Schedule an Appointment form below. We look forward to hearing from you.