Baby bottle tooth decay is a major problem with small children, yet it is something that you can prevent as a parent. When a small child develops this condition, it causes problems with the teeth, and these problems can affect a child's permanent teeth. Here are a few things you should understand about baby bottle tooth decay if you have a small child.
What it is
Baby bottle tooth decay is a term that dentists use to describe the condition of the mouth of a small infant or child who has decay on his or her front teeth. The teeth affected by this are baby teeth, and baby bottle decay typically is only seen on the upper front teeth of a child; however, it can spread to other teeth if left untreated.
This condition can result from a child drinking any liquids that contain sugar, and this includes milk, juice, and even breast milk. It typically only occurs, though, when a child is drinking these beverages from a bottle while laying in bed. If you put your baby to bed with a bottle, your child will have a much higher chance of developing this condition.
The reason teeth are affected by this is because of the way the beverages pool up on the child's teeth while laying down. Any beverage that contains sugar will cause this, and this is because bacteria in your child's mouth feeds on sugar. When bacteria feeds on sugar, it results in the production of acids, and acids cause decay.
Ways you can prevent it from happening
If you want to protect your baby's teeth, there are several different things you can do that will help prevent your baby from developing baby bottle tooth decay. The first thing to do is to avoid putting your baby to bed with a bottle, unless it contains water. Water is the only safe beverage for your baby's teeth.
Secondly, you should get in the habit of cleaning your baby's teeth and gums. Many parents forget to do this, especially when a baby does not have any teeth or only has a couple. To clean a baby's teeth, simply rub a clean, wet cloth over the baby's gums and teeth wiping them down. This will remove any sugars that are present and will help your child avoid developing decay.
Following these tips can help your child's teeth stay healthy and strong. If you have questions about this, or if you suspect that your child has this, visit a pediatric dentist today.