As a parent, it is your ultimate responsibility to make sure your child’s teeth and gums are properly taken care of. Proper infant oral care is just as important as taking your baby to the pediatrician for routine checkups.
Proper oral care for infants will help to ensure that your child has healthy teeth and gums as they grow older. If you don’t take care of your baby’s gums during the early years, problems can arise—one common problem, during infancy and early childhood, is baby bottle tooth decay (cavities).
In this article we’re going to talk about baby bottle tooth decay, which is a real threat to your baby’s oral health. Join us.
What is baby bottle tooth decay? What causes early childhood caries?
Baby bottle tooth decay describes tooth decay that occurs during infancy and early childhood. Other terms used interchangeably with baby bottle decay include: infant caries, early childhood caries (ECC), and bottle mouth.
It is a serious, quite common condition that can develop when parents ignore their child’s oral care. It is typically caused by a great amount of sugar that stays on the gums and teeth without getting removed in a timely manner.
Something you need to realize is that sugar is found in milk, formula, fruit juices, and snacks. So it’s very important to gently clean/brush your child’s teeth and gums as soon after consumption of these liquids and foods as possible.
Also, you should not put juices in your child’s sippy cup or bottle prior to bedtime unless you’re going to brush his or her teeth prior to falling asleep. If you don’t brush his or her teeth prior to sleeping, the sugar can cause baby bottle tooth decay over time.
Signs and symptoms of tooth decay in babies
So how do you know if your child has tooth decay? What are the symptoms associated with this condition?
Common symptoms and signs include:
- dark spots on the teeth
- brown spots on the teeth
- pain around the teeth
- swelling around the teeth
As the condition goes on without proper treatment, your child’s symptoms will continue to worsen. It is very important to avoid and prevent baby bottle tooth decay as much as you can.
How to prevent baby bottle tooth decay and infant caries—what you need to know.
There are so many tips out there in the pediatric healthcare industry that relates to the prevention of baby bottle tooth decay. In this section, we’re going to present just a few tips or steps that you can immediately take (if you’d like to learn even more tips, please visit: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/teething-tooth-care/Pages/How-to-Prevent-Tooth-Decay-in-Your-Baby.aspx)
Tips and steps include:
- You may be doing this already, but learn about infant oral health before your baby is born. You can familiarize yourself with proper oral care techniques and dental terminology.
- If you breastfeed or bottle-feed, wipe your child’s gums with a clean, gentle washcloth after each feeding.
When your child is 12-36 months, be sure to brush his or her teeth 2 times every day for at least 2 minutes each time. Definitely brush his or her teeth prior to bedtime.
- If your child needs a bottle prior to bedtime, fill it with water.
- Speak with your dentist or a pediatric dentist to find out the importance of fluoride (in drinking water and in toothpaste).
- Limit the amount of sugar your child is exposed to. If they consume sugary foods or beverages, brush their teeth as soon after as possible.
Schedule your child’s dental appointment today.
If you would like to schedule your child’s appointment with our pediatric dentists, give Dental Town a call today. We have several locations throughout GA; locations can be found on the following page: http://www.dentaltownsmiles.com/locations-directions/.
Our contact information for each office location can be found on the following page: http://www.dentaltownsmiles.com/contact-us/.
In the meantime, we invite you to learn more information on our website regarding early dental care for infants and children.