Baby bottle tooth decay, sometimes referred to as Early Childhood Caries, occurs when there is frequent exposure of a child’s tooth or teeth to sugary liquids. Even naturally-occurring sugars from milk can cause tooth decay in a child.
Even if a child’s teeth are temporary, it’s important to take good care of their teeth. For one, it helps introduce the child to regular oral care and hygiene. Good oral health will also help the child eat comfortably and prevent cavities, which can cause pain.
Healthy baby teeth will also help the permanent teeth grow in correctly. Practicing good oral care now will set them up for success later!
Milk formula and fruit juice will often have sugars that can breed harmful bacteria that promotes tooth decay, especially if the tooth isn’t regularly cleaned and taken care of. Children who also use pacifiers that were dipped in sugary liquids or honey are also at risk.
How do I clean my baby’s teeth?
It’s important to first schedule a visit with your family dentist right when your infant grows their first tooth, or before their first birthday. Your dentist will be able to work with you on the correct way of cleaning your baby’s mouth.
Be sure to not let the child fall asleep with a bottle in their mouth. You can even gently dab the insides of their mouth to soak up leftover liquids before they go to bed.
When their tooth appears, you can use a toothbrush made for infants to clean the tooth. Until your child can spit on their own, use toothpaste that is free from fluoride. You may also choose to use no toothpaste at first, and slowly work up to using toothpaste (a small, pea-sized amount will suffice) as the child gets used to it.
You should be sure to also clean the gums that do not have teeth yet.
Is your baby ready for their first dental visit? Dr. Stephen Coates and his dental team welcome families and children of all ages, and are committed to helping you achieve beautiful smiles and maintain great oral health.
Book your appointment now via our online scheduler, or call us at 562-434-6414.