Baby Bottle Tooth Decay - develops due to the repeated and long-term exposure of an infant’s teeth to sugary liquids. Milk, formula, fruit juice, and sodas are among these liquids. Baby Bottle Tooth Decay may also be caused by prolonged feeding habits for breast-fed infants and using pacifiers that are frequently dipped in honey or other sweet substances. The presence of sugar in these fluids and sweet substances feed bacteria that cause plaque. The acidity in the mouth is also raised every time a child consumes these sugary liquids which eventually lead to tooth decay.
Also, feeding an infant with sugared liquids at nap or nighttime is detrimental for the baby's dental health. This is due to the decline of saliva flow during these times, allowing the sugars to stick around for a longer period of time. If this condition is left unattended, infection and pain will eventually develop. Decayed teeth may also need extraction which may lead to poor eating habits, speech problems, crooked teeth, and damaged adult teeth.
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay can be prevented to assure your child's dental health. The measures to do so are fairly simple. The following should be practiced to care for your baby’s teeth:
Avoid letting your baby sleep with a bottle containing milk, formula, juice, and other liquids that contain sugar.
Clean and massage the baby's gums once a day. This helps to develop healthy teeth and is also beneficial to an infants teething process. This could be done by using a moistened square gauze or washcloth around your finger and carefully massaging the gums and gingival tissues.
Brush your baby's teeth as soon as the eruption of the first baby tooth. Use a soft toothbrush with a pea-amount of fluoride toothpaste.
Changes in a child's diet also helps in preventing baby bottle tooth decay. Gradually diluting a child's bottle content with water over a period of 2-3 weeks. Water and a clean pacifier are the safest things to give to your baby to prevent baby bottle tooth decay after this period.
Sugary snacks should be minimized especially between meals.
Children should be weaned from the bottle as soon as they are able to drink from a cup.
Lastly, parents should start dental check up for the child between the age of six and 12 months.