What is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay or Early Childhood caries is one of the most common chronic diseases that occurs in children from ages 0-6.
Baby bottle tooth decay generally happens infants/toddlers as a result of sleeping with the bottle at night or prolonged exposure to milk from a bottle throughout the day. It also occurs as a result of increased exposure to sugars at this young age. It typically appears as brown spots on the front as well as back teeth. If your child uses a bottle frequently and you are seeing such spots on the teeth, it is very important to bring your child in for a dental checkup with a pediatric dentist! Both “at-home” and “professional-dentist” measures are necessary for true prevention of this disease.
How to Avoid Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
– Encourage drinking from a cup
When you encourage your child to learn how to drink from an open cup,it is easier to get nutrition( such as that from milk) in throughout the day rather than using the bottle at night. Ideally, weaning from night time bottle feeding should happen around age one.
– Don’t put juice or sugar water in your baby’s bottle
Only formula or milk should be put in baby bottles. Both milk and formula already have sugars in them and the added sugars in juice should not be introduced to babies under two years of age. Takeaway- NO JUICE under two years!
– Drinking water!
Have your child finish their bottle before going to bed and then brush their teeth after the bottle so baby goes to bed with no remnants of milk on their teeth. Encouraging your child( ages 6-12 months) to drink 4-6 ounces of water per day also helps in prevention.
– Proper Oral Hygiene
Brushing your child’s teeth is essential to removing plaque and sticky sugars or starches. Twice a day, gently brush with a very small amount of toothpaste( “rice” size amount from 0-3 years and “pea” size amount from ages 3-6 yrs). To maximize the beneficial of fluoride in the toothpaste, rinsing after brushing should be kept to a minimum. Alternatively, wipe your child’s gums with wet gauze or a washcloth after a bottle if they don’t really have any teeth.
– Establish a dental home and regular checkups for your child
Tooth decay generally doesn’t happen overnight. Your child should see a dentist by the time their first tooth erupts or atleast by his/her first birthday. By booking an appointment with your pediatric dentist, they can closely examine and monitor the condition of your child’s teeth and gums and help formulate an individualized plan for your child in the prevention of cavities!
Book your child’s first appointment with our children’s dental experts at HiFive Kids Dental in Pickering and Ajax area!