What Is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?

cute baby in a cow hat drinking milk - Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Make sure not to fill any bottles with sugary drinks.

Think it is unimportant to care for baby teeth because they are temporary? Baby bottle tooth decay refers to cavities in infants and very young children. Consequently, although your child will lose all her baby teeth, they are still vital for her health. Baby teeth are necessary for speech development and serve as placeholders for adult teeth. If teeth are lost too soon, it could cause poor eating habits, crooked adult teeth, and speech problems. Furthermore, although the decay typically happens in the upper front teeth, other teeth can be affected, too.

How does baby bottle tooth decay happen?

While your infant is not eating candy or drinking overly sugary beverages, even those with naturally occurring sugars like milk, formula, and juice could be dangerous to dental health. The sugars cling to teeth, and if left alone the bacteria in the mouth thrives on it. Therefore, producing acids which in turn attack the teeth. Here are some signs of baby bottle tooth decay:

  • Brown or black spots on the teeth.
  • Bleeding or swollen gums.
  • Fever, swelling or irritability, which indicates possible infection.
  • Bad breath.

Treatment and Prevention

Depending on the age of your child treatment varies. Inform your dentist at the first sign of a problem. That way, you can work together to formulate the best solution and least invasive treatment. Here are some ways you can prevent baby bottle tooth decay:

  • Never fill bottles with sugary soft drinks, which have no nutritional value and are not recommended.
  • Consider the bottle is only for milk, water, formula, or infant electrolyte drinks when the child is sick.
  • Use diluted juices only as an enticement for sippy cup training.
  • Never allow your child to fall asleep with a bottle filled with anything but water.
  • Never dip your baby’s pacifier in anything sweet.
  • Wipe your child’s gums with gauze or a washcloth after meals.
  • Use a toothbrush without toothpaste to brush very young children’s teeth.

If you are consuming sugary drinks, it can be difficult to quit cold turkey. Therefore, we suggest you gradually dilute the bottle contents with water over 2 to 3 weeks. After that time, fill the bottle with water only. Do you have questions regarding your child’s dental health? Contact Tooth Fairy Smiles to schedule an appointment, or to ask questions, today!