Baby Tooth Decay is a serious concern for parents. As stated above, the children may have to live with health consequences throughout their life, so in the interest of good overall health, its a good idea for moms and dads to take preventative measures, against baby tooth decay, early in their baby’s life.
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Baby bottle tooth decay may appear as rotting teeth. This appearance can adversely affect self esteem issues. Of more immediate concern is pain in the teeth of these infants and little children. Especially in the case of infants, if there is lack of access to oral health services, they may suffer untold pain and discomfort. When the children lose teeth, they may lose the ability to chew, speak, or smile. Due to these outcomes, various names such as “infant caries,” “early childhood caries,” or “bottle mouth” have been used to describe this disease.
With this early childhood decay, a child’s baby teeth and permanent teeth, may grow haphazardly, resulting in speech problems and/or poor eating habits. Most adults with crooked set of teeth once suffered from untreated infant caries. This type of extreme tooth decay can bring about further issues such as chronic pain and serious infections.
Signs of Decay
Baby bottle tooth decay can affect any tooth. Incisors (the upper front teeth) are the most vulnerable to attack; they are the first to display signs of baby bottle tooth decay. Brown or dark spots on these teeth confirms tooth decay is in progress. If not immediately treated by a dental professional, the child may suffer pain and swelling in the mouth.
Causes of Decay
Excess sugar is the major cause of Bottle Tooth Decay. A child that frequently eats food with high sugar content will likely suffer from tooth decay because microscopic organisms in the mouth feast upon the sugar and then produce acidic waste which attack tooth enamel. Weakened enamel eventually succumbs to decay.
Many youngsters’ food choices are loaded with sugar, especially fruit drinks and processed foods. A diet of fresh (or frozen) fruit, vegetables, legumes, whole grains and meats is the best way to provide necessary nutrients to a child once they are able to eat solid food.
- Do not let your child fall asleep with a bottle.
- Bottles should only contain milk or good quality baby formula.
- Teach the child how to drink from a cup after s/he is six months’ old.
- Do not feed your child honey before 12 months’ age — it is potentially toxic to infants and is not good for developing teeth.
- Limit juice intake. Children under six months should not drink anything other than breast milk, formula or water.
- Do not give young children candy. Once they are age two, be vigilant about the amount they consume.
- Clean infant and children’s gums and teeth immediately after each feeding.
Cosmo Dental Center provides caring, attentive oral health services for children. Call us at (519) 659-2767. When you have a regular cleaning, bring your kids so they can familiarize themselves with the dentist’s office, and they’ll be comfortable when coming in for their first appointment.