When you have a baby it immediately becomes the centre of your world and every move, smile, even burp becomes important.
And one of the regular and important tasks of parenting (or caregiving) is to keep your child well-fed and content.
For this, parents often turn to the baby bottle. But many parents are unaware that long-term or repetitive bottle-feeding, can come with risks to a child’s dental health.
Cavities in infants and toddlers are called baby bottle tooth decay. This decay typically takes root in the front teeth. It often starts with oral bacteria being passed from caregiver to infant (shared spoons, pacifiers cleaned by mouth, etc.).
Then, extended exposure to sugar and putting infants to bed with a bottle, feed that bacteria and lead to baby bottle decay. If baby bottle decay is untreated, it can have grave impact on an infant’s dental health, and their dental health going forward.
At Smiles Nambour, we want every parent to know what baby bottle decay is, its symptoms, and how to deal with it.
What Is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?
Baby bottle tooth decay is tooth decay caused by improper bottle-feeding practices. It can arise as early one year of age, beginning as a white chalky area around the gum line of a tooth.
Untreated, baby bottle tooth decay can spread to cover the entire tooth surface. Later the colour may darken to a yellow and brown appearance. Eventually, the tooth may chip, break, or come out. Gradually, the decay reaches to other teeth, eventually leading to a mouth full of decayed baby teeth.
But these are temporary teeth, so why be concerned?
Why Worry About Baby Bottle Tooth Decay In Baby Teeth?
The first issue is dental work. Badly decayed teeth may need extraction, despite the fact they would eventually fall out. And loss of baby teeth can lead to bad eating habits, speech issues, orthodontic problems, and damaged adult teeth.
Let’s more closely inspect some problems that come with baby bottle tooth decay:
- Speech Development: Have you ever listened to someone who was missing teeth talking? It can be extremely difficult to understand. Properly aligned teeth make speaking clearer and easier. Toddlers with robust, well spaced, and aligned teeth tend to speak clearly. Children with unhealthy, poorly spaced, or misaligned teeth often can’t speak properly, and this can affect their speech throughout their lives.
- Tooth alignment and position of permanent teeth: Baby teeth are space-holders for adult teeth, serving as guides for the adult teeth as they come into position. If a baby tooth is missing, adjacent teeth can move or tilt into the opening. This can lead to crooked permanent teeth, or permanent teeth that can’t erupt into the mouth.
- Baby teeth make proper chewing and eating easier: Tooth loss can cause chewing problems that interfere with the development of key facial muscles. Improper chewing can even lead to poor nutrition!
- Self-esteem. Everyone knows the social value of a great smile. Baby bottle tooth decay can ruin an infant’s smile and lead to smile problems later in life. This can lead to reduced self-esteem.
Preventing Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Clean a baby’s gums once a day to establish healthy teeth and aid in teething. Wrap a moistened gauze square or washcloth around the finger and gently massage the gums and gingival tissues.
As soon as the first tooth comes in, brush your child’s teeth with a soft toothbrush and a dab of toothpaste.
Once a baby has finished feeding, remove the baby from the breast or bottle. Don’t put baby to bed with a bottle as this practice can cause tooth decay.
Start teaching your child to drink from a feeding cup from about 6 months of age.
For children over 12 months, water should be the main drink of choice the main drink. Fruit juice is not recommended for children under 12 months, because of its elevated sugar content and acidity.
Children can start to eat solid foods from around six months of age. Offer a wide range of nutritious foods with a variety of textures and flavours.
- Never dip pacifiers in sweet substances, such as honey, jam or sugar.
- Ask for sugar-free medicines if possible.
- Look in your child’s mouth regularly to spot early signs of decay.
Dentistry at Smiles Nambour
Smiles Nambour is the perfect choice for dental care in the Nambour area. We provide top-notch dental services of all kinds to patients of every age! Our professional staff is dedicated to providing you with personalised, quality dental care.
Smiles Nambour offers a comprehensive array of general, restorative, and cosmetic dental services for you and your loved ones.
A visit to Smiles Nambour is an investment in your dental health and attractive smile!
Child Dental Benefits Schedule
Bulk Bill for children who are eligible for MEDICARE CHILD DENTAL BENEFIT SCHEDULE
Up to $1000 worth of dental treatments over two years
Learn more about Child Dental Benefits Schedule
Call us on (07) 5441 4438 or visit us at 4/104 Currie St in Nambour.