August 22, 2022
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
The health of your child’s baby teeth is very important, that is why it is important to be aware of Baby Bottle Tooth Decay, some may know it as Early Childhood Caries (caries is another word for cavities). What is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay you ask? This is a type of tooth decay that occurs because of prolonged exposure to liquids that contain sugar. One of the more common ways this can occur is bottle propping or putting your baby to bed with a bottle.
Other ways that this type of tooth decay can happen in your child’s teeth is through saliva sharing. This usually happens when the mother, or caregiver, cleans the baby’s pacifier by putting it in their mouth or by putting the baby’s spoon in their mouth. Some may be wondering how these two things could possibly cause tooth decay in your child’s teeth; there is an explanation for how and why this occurs. Each person has cavity causing bacteria in their mouth; this bacterium can be spread through saliva. When you put your baby’s pacifier or spoon in your mouth, you are sharing this cavity causing bacteria, which can increase their chances of having tooth decay.
Lets talk a little bit more about bottle propping and putting your child to bed with a bottle. Many parents are familiar with the term bottle propping, as they have most likely been told not to do this with their child for many reasons. These reasons, other than tooth decay, include choking and aspiration, suffocation and ear infection, but we will focus on tooth decay. Tooth decay that is caused by bottle propping, as well as putting your child to bed with a bottle, occurs because of the prolonged exposure of sugar to your child’s teeth. As we have discussed before in previous articles, the bacteria that is in your child’s mouth and the sugar combined, created an acidic environment that will eat away at your child’s teeth. “When your baby is upright and awake while feeding, his saliva washes away the sugars, but when your baby is flat on his back, the liquid pools and causes the sugars to remain in contact with his teeth for a longer period of time.”1 This is why many different health providers like pediatric dentist, family doctors or pediatric doctors strongly advise against bottle propping, and even putting your child to be with a bottle.
How can we prevent Baby Bottle Tooth Decay? It is recommended to try and not share saliva with your baby, so avoid putting the pacifier or spoon in your mouth. It is also recommended that you wipe your babies gums after each feeding, and yes even if your baby doesn’t have teeth yet, this will still protect their teeth from decay. When your baby’s teeth start to come in, begin to brush them twice a day with, or before their teeth come in you can use fluoride drops to help protect their future teeth. Do not put any other liquids besides formula, milk or breast milk in your child’s bottle, and encourage your child to learn to use a cup or training cup by their first birthday.
The health of our child’s baby teeth is very important for the future of their oral health, and when their adult teeth begin to come in. If your child is already showing signs of tooth decay, and they still have all of their baby teeth, this may result in them being more susceptible to tooth decay as they get older and have adult teeth. If you have any concerns about your baby’s teeth and what you can do to keep their baby teeth healthy, ask your child’s dentist and he will give you the information you need to ensure that your child has they best chance at a healthy smile. You can also check out the sources listed below for more information on how to prevent Baby Bottle Tooth Decay.