Your baby's teeth can begin to decay soon after they break through the gums. It's called Baby Bottle Tooth Decay, also known as Bottle Rot, and you may be surprised to learn how it happens.
What causes baby bottle tooth decay?
We all have bacteria in our mouths - it occurs naturally. These bacteria feed on sugary substances and creates an acid that can, in time, cause tooth decay.
What sugary substances cause this decay?
Would you be surprised to learn the most common culprits are milk, formula, fruit juice and even breast milk? It's true … and if you put your baby to bed with a bottle of sugar water, the results will be the same.
Why is it bad?
Besides the possibility of your child's pain and difficulty chewing, baby teeth act as "guides" for your child's permanent teeth and if they are damaged or decayed - or fall out early - it could result in crowded or crooked permanent teeth.
It's important that we keep our children's baby teeth clean and decay-free. Even though they will be replaced with permanent teeth, this first set of teeth should be treated with the same level of care as the second set. Be sure to start regular visits to the dentist should begin by your child's first birthday and provide daily oral care in your home.
How to help prevent baby bottle tooth decay:
- Never allow your child to fall asleep with a bottle containing sugary liquids; plain water is best or provide a pacifier, if you prefer.
- Do not dip pacifiers in honey or sugar.
- Do not allow your child to nurse throughout the night.
- After each feeding, clean your child's teeth with a soft, wet cloth or clean gauze pad. At the same time, clean and massage the gum area where there are no teeth.
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