Baby bottle tooth decay is a condition that occurs when sugary drinks and food remain in contact with the baby teeth for extended periods of time. This causes bacteria to grow which results in tooth decay. However, this is a dental problem that can be avoided. These are some ways to prevent baby bottle tooth decay.
Bottle Feeding A Baby
When bottle feeding a baby or toddler, only allow the child to take a bottle for his meals. Baby formula is packed with sugars and can cause baby teeth to decay if they are exposed to it for extensive periods of time. If a child normally takes a bottle to go to sleep or for comfort, give plain water in the bottle instead of formula.
Never allow a child to drink juice, juice diluted with water or soda in a bottle. Do not add extra sweeteners to formula such as sugar, syrup or chocolate milk mix. Any extra sugars the child consumes while taking a bottle is a risk that tooth decay will occur.
Breast Feeding A Baby
Breast milk also has a high content of natural sugars. To avoid tooth decay when breast feeding, only allow a baby to nurse until he is full. Do not let the child nurse to go to sleep or continuously throughout the night while sleeping. Try offering the baby a pacifier for comfort instead.
Feeding The Baby Cereal
Once the baby has started eating baby cereal, do not add extra sweeteners to his food. Some baby cereals have fruit flavors added to them which makes them already sweetened. There is no need for additional sugar or other sweeteners and this can cause damage to baby teeth over time.
Cleaning Baby Teeth
After each bottle or breast feeding, use a soft damp cloth to wipe the baby's teeth and gums clean. This helps remove bacteria from the teeth and gums so it does not cause the teeth to decay. There is also special toothpaste available that is designed for baby teeth that can be used to remove bacteria and excess sugar as well.
If baby bottle tooth decay does occur, there may be a need to have the baby teeth extracted. While the decayed baby teeth may not affect the permanent teeth, allowing them to remain in place can lead to a severe infection in the child's gums. Therefore, taking these steps to prevent this condition from occurring in the first place is always best for your child. Talk to a dentist, like Hoffman & Karl Dental Associates, PLLC, for more help.