Pediatric dentistry is an area of dentistry that focuses on the oral health of children. Starting good dental hygiene habits early in life is important. As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states, more than 50% of children under the age of nine have had at least one cavity in their baby teeth, and…
An Overview of Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Baby bottle tooth decay is one of the more common concerns that pediatric dentists treat. Read on to learn more about this condition. The good news is that this condition is highly preventable if the parent understands the risks of baby bottle tooth decay and works with their pediatric dentist to reduce the risk through regular visits and good oral hygiene at home.
A detailed review of baby bottle tooth decay
The following review discusses baby bottle tooth decay, highlighting how it is defined, what the causes are, the risks, and more. While having a general understanding of early childhood caries is helpful, it is important to visit a pediatric dentist to put together a personalized prevention plan.
What is baby bottle tooth decay?
Baby bottle tooth decay, also called early childhood caries, refers to dental cavities in infants and toddlers. Baby bottle tooth decay most commonly affects front teeth, but it can occur to teeth further back in the mouth as well. Primary (baby) teeth start to grow at around six months of age, and baby bottle tooth decay can occur soon after the first teeth erupt if precautions are not taken to prevent it.
What causes baby bottle tooth decay?
As the name suggests, one of the most noteworthy contributing factors to baby bottle tooth decay is baby bottles — because infants and toddlers drink out of bottles, and the drinks often contain sugar and other carbohydrates that are known to break down tooth enamel and lead to caries. However, there are other causes as well, such as baby formula and foods that contain carbohydrates, and an infrequent oral care routine.
What are the risks of baby bottle tooth decay?
A common misconception is that baby bottle tooth decay is not a serious concern since the child will eventually lose the primary teeth anyway. However, the health of primary teeth often affects the growth of permanent teeth, especially as it pertains to the proper spacing of baby teeth. In addition, early childhood caries can cause discomfort for children, so preventing and promptly treating baby bottle tooth decay is crucial.
How can I help prevent baby bottle tooth decay?
Of course, the best way to prevent baby bottle tooth decay is to brush your child’s teeth regularly. In addition, consider limiting how much sugar they consume, especially out of a baby bottle (which includes natural sugars that are found in fruit juice).
How can a pediatric dentist treat baby bottle tooth decay?
A pediatric dentist can treat baby bottle tooth decay the same as adults treat cavities, which include a dental filling in most cases. For severe decay, a baby root canal procedure may be a preferable solution for preserving the health of the tooth.
Additional tips to help prevent early childhood caries
Every parent should have a personalized plan to protect their child’s teeth from childhood caries and other oral health concerns. The following are several tips to help you keep your children’s teeth clean and cavity-free until they become old enough to adequately care for their teeth on their own.
Keep your child’s teeth as clean as possible
Good oral hygiene is equally important in early childhood as it is in adulthood. Of course, since children are not yet able to care for their teeth properly, it is the parent’s responsibility to ensure their teeth are brushed and flossed regularly. This is in addition to limiting the consumption of sugar, especially out of a baby bottle.
Visit your pediatric or family dentist often
Check-up and cleaning visits are important for toddlers and young children. This offers a way to remove plaque and tartar on your child’s teeth and to check for signs of any oral health complications. Check-up visits to the dentist for young children are generally encouraged every four to six months.
Teach your child good habits at a young age
It is never too early to start teaching your child proper brushing techniques and instilling in them at a young age the importance of keeping up with their oral health. This not only benefits them at a young age with caries prevention, but it carries into adulthood, allowing them to enjoy a beautiful and clean smile.
Our dental team treats early childhood caries
Baby bottle tooth decay can start soon after your child’s teeth first come through. To help prevent it from happening or to treat any childhood caries your child may have, call our dental practice today to schedule a time for you and your child to come see our kid-friendly team.
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