As a new parent, you have plenty of worries on your plate — but baby bottle tooth decay probably isn’t one of them. The experienced pediatric dentists at Stellar Kids Dentistry in Mukilteo, Mill Creek, and Everett, Washington, understand that hearing “baby” and “tooth decay” in the same sentence might have some parents scratching their heads.
When most people think of tooth decay, they imagine a diet full of sweets — not milk and pureéd vegetables. Unfortunately, baby tooth decay is a very real concern in infants and toddlers.
We don’t want to add any more stress to your life. That’s why our dentists are dedicated to keeping your baby’s teeth healthy and strong the moment their first tooth emerges.
What is baby bottle tooth decay?
Baby bottle tooth decay typically affects infants and toddlers who are still drinking from bottles. It frequently causes cavities in the upper front teeth. Dentists call this type of decay baby bottle tooth decay because it happens when new baby teeth are exposed to too much sugar.
Even if your baby has never even touched solid food before, their diet can still be high in sugar. Breast milk, formula, store-bought milk, and fruit juices all contain plenty of sugar that can impact your baby’s oral health.
Why is baby bottle tooth decay important?
Tooth decay is caused by plaque — a sticky film of bacteria — that builds up on your baby’s teeth. It releases toxins that eat away at their protective tooth enamel. While baby teeth are temporary, they serve many important functions. In fact, healthy baby teeth:
- Guide adult teeth into the correct position
- Help children chew, speak, and smile
- Maintain facial structure
- Improve children’s self-esteem
Baby bottle tooth decay puts your child at risk of serious dental concerns in the future, including:
- Poor speech
- Crooked teeth
- Pain when chewing
- Damaged adult teeth
- Additional cavities
Your baby may still be in infancy, but the steps you take to maintain their oral health now can have a significant impact on their teeth in the future.
Prevention is key when it comes to caring for your family’s dental health. Restorative treatments, such as fillings, braces, dental crowns, and even tooth extractions, are expensive and time-consuming. By preventing baby bottle tooth decay, you’re saving yourself a lot of time and money in the long run.
How can I prevent baby bottle tooth decay?
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to reduce your baby’s risk of tooth decay:
- Ask your dentist about fluoride treatments and supplements.
- Wipe your baby’s teeth with a washcloth after feedings.
- Start brushing without toothpaste when your baby’s first tooth emerges.
- Start flossing as early as possible.
- Massage your baby’s gums.
- Don’t put sugary drinks in your baby’s bottle.
- Add water to your baby’s juice to dilute it.
- Visit your dentist at Stellar Kids Dentistry at least twice a year for checkups.
Have more questions about baby bottle tooth decay? Call our team at Stellar Kids Dentistry or book an appointment online now!