(616) 676-9177
(616) 676-9177

Baby Bottle Tooth Decay: What Every Parent Needs to Know

Baby bottle tooth decay Ada MI pediatric dentistWhen your child is young, it can be such a knee-jerk reaction to give them a bottle when you’re busy with something else or they’re being fussy. While convenient, this habit can come back to bite you in the form of “baby bottle tooth decay” if done with enough frequency. That’s why our Ada, MI, pediatric dentist encourages those with young ones to not dole out so many sugary drinks early in childhood.

If you’re a parent or caregiver, here’s what you need to know about tooth decay in baby teeth.

Explaining Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

The definition of baby bottle tooth decay is right in the name. It is a term commonly used to describe oral decay present in infants and toddlers. Cavities during this time affect a child’s primary, or baby teeth and can have lasting consequences.

Most often, tooth decay of this nature is seen in the upper front teeth and can appear as white spots at the gum line. If found, you should take your child in for a dental exam. Our pediatric dentist will treat them carefully to stop the decay from spreading further.

Is This an Important Issue to Worry About?

Yes, tooth decay is something that you should be conscious of and take steps to curb. However, the mere possibility shouldn’t keep you up at night or make you fearful of feeding your child sugar.

If you want to prevent cavity development, go on the offensive with an oral hygiene routine designed to help your child. Brushing at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, flossing, and limiting sugar intake to a healthier amount are all recommended actions.

There are a variety of factors that play into tooth decay. If you’re not careful, cavity-causing bacteria can be passed from parent to infant through the shared use of a feeding utensil. A lack of fluoride can also translate to an increased risk of decay. It’s important to remember, however, that tooth decay is preventable.

Avoid Decay With These Prevention Tips 

Childhood cavities do not have to be a part of your child’s life. There are many ways that you as a parent can keep their teeth clean and free from decay. Young children do not yet understand the importance of good oral health but you do and can help them.

Keep your child’s smile healthy and shining by:

  • Gently wiping their gums with a clean washcloth before teeth have erupted
  • Brushing their teeth two times a day for two minutes. Use a smear of fluoride toothpaste until age 3 then advance to a pea-sized amount until age 6
  • Not filling bottles with sugar water, juice, or soft drinks
  • Not giving children bottles at bedtime or allowing them to fall asleep while feeding
  • Providing clean pacifiers – not ones dipped in sugar or honey
  • Encouraging your child to drink from cups by age 1 if possible
  • Feeding them healthy, balanced meals and snacks
  • Speaking with our pediatric dentist about dental sealants for extra protection
  • Scheduling teeth cleanings every six months

Pay Attention to Baby Teeth 

Just because baby teeth fall out and are replaced by adult teeth does not mean they should be neglected. Not caring for your child’s primary teeth can put them at risk for premature tooth loss, cavities, dental fillings, and unwanted infections.

Oral hygiene habits should be formed when your child is still very young. Our pediatric dentist recommends parents use a silicone finger slip brush as teeth start to erupt. After age 1, feel free to swap that out for a toothbrush with a small head.

We understand that it can be difficult to get babies or toddlers to cooperate when you’re encouraging daily brushing and flossing. It’s best to think out of the box. Incorporate fun into your child’s dental routine with games, music, and weekly rewards. When children associate excitement with oral hygiene, they’re bound to stick to good behavior.

Make an Appointment For Your Child

If you ever need at-home advice on how to make sure your child’s smile grows big and strong, our pediatric dentist in Ada, MI, has got your back. Dr. Stephanie loves teaching and helping parents out if it means healthy teeth for her patients! Call Norman Family Dentistry today at (616) 676-9177 to request an appointment.