Everyone knows that baby teeth are temporary to be replaced later by adult or permanent teeth. But, that doesn't mean that you shouldn't take care of the baby teeth. In fact, healthy baby teeth are important for several reasons: to chew food, to speak clearly, and to hold space in the gums for permanent teeth.
Here's what you need to know about baby bottle mouth syndrome if you are the parent or guardian of a baby who has their first teeth erupting through their gums.
1. Don't Let Your Baby Fall Asleep with a Bottle of Milk or Juice
One way to soothe a baby and to get the baby to fall asleep is to give them a bottle of breast milk or formula. Of course, milk and formula are important for the overall health of your little one but can cause what is known as baby bottle mouth syndrome if you don't take precautions. Baby bottle mouth syndrome is severe tooth decay.
Therefore, you want to avoid letting your baby fall asleep with a bottle of milk, formula, or juice, especially after their teeth have broken through the gums. Letting your baby fall asleep with a bottle of milk, formula, or juice allows a small amount of the liquid to remain in their mouth and pooled on their teeth. This can cause the teeth to decay due to the sugars of the liquid sitting on the teeth.
2. Know the Signs of Baby Bottle Mouth Syndrome
These are several signs of tooth decay from baby bottle mouth syndrome:
- the teeth have white, yellow, or brown spots
- there's a whitish film on the gums
- tooth and/or gum pain
- there are holes in the teeth
What you can do is put water in the bottle instead. This also holds true for sippy cups if you've already progressed beyond baby bottles.
3. Schedule Your Baby's First Dental Appointment
If your baby's teeth are erupting through the gums or have already erupted, it's time to schedule his or her first dental appointment with services like Dentistry For Children & Adolescents. You'll want to schedule that appointment either within 6 months from when the first tooth came through the gums or before their first birthday—whichever comes first. However, if you notice any problems before the appointment and are concerned about baby bottle mouth syndrome, call the dental office to have your baby seen sooner.