What is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?

As a parent, you can prevent tooth decay in your young infant or child. With a great family dentistry practice as your guide, Dr. Edward Logan and Dr. Emily Mack of O'Fallon Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, located in O'Fallon, MO, can help you prevent baby bottle tooth decay in your children.

What is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?

Baby bottle tooth decay is also known as infant caries, and it is tooth decay seen in infants and young children. It usually occurs in the front teeth, also known as a child's incisors. Cavities are caused by too much sugar that usually comes from milk or formula, juice, and sweet snacks.

Proper dental hygiene starts when your child develops its first tooth, and routine cleanings are essential.

Causes of Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Your child can develop cavities when their teeth come into contact with too much sugar. This is because the bacteria in our mouths feed on sugar, and when they do, they also produce acid as a waste product that attacks the teeth and tooth enamel, causing tooth decay.

Children are exposing their teeth to sugar by taking in:

  • Infant formula
  • Milk
  • Juice
  • Snacks

If your child is used to going to sleep with a bottle or using a bottle or sippy cup for long periods, the sugar can start to coat their teeth, leading to tooth decay.

Signs of Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Dental cavities can appear as dark or brown spots on the teeth and, as they worsen or are left untreated, the child might start to experience pain and swelling around their teeth. Routine visits with Dr. Logan and Dr. Mack, of O'Fallon, MO, that offer family dentistry visits can help prevent this discomfort by examining their teeth regularly and offering professional cleanings.

Other more severe signs of untreated baby bottle tooth decay include:

  • Crooked adult teeth
  • Chronic pain
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Painful chewing
  • Serious infections

Ways to Prevent Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

It is possible to prevent tooth decay at home as well as in the dentist's chair. Some ways to prevent decay includes:

  • Do not put your child to sleep with a bottle of milk or juice. Water is a better option if they need the bottle to sleep.
  • Do not let your child walk around with their cup or bottle of juice and milk.
  • When possible, fill your child's cup with water instead of milk or juice.
  • Practice using a cup with children over six months of age.
  • Avoid pacifier use when possible.
  • Encourage healthy eating habits while also limiting sweets.
  • Begin brushing your child's teeth and gums after feeding.
  • Floss your child's teeth once all teeth have grown in.

A dentist can identify potential problems with your child's teeth, including early signs of decay. If you have concerns or want to learn more about baby bottle tooth decay, call and make an appointment at an O'Fallon, MO, family dentistry you can trust- Dr. Logan and Dr. Mack at O'Fallon Family & Cosmetic Dentistry. You can make an appointment by calling (636) 561-5445.

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