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How to prevent baby bottle tooth decay

Aug 13, 2012

Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Photo Source: BabyFirstYear.org

Protecting a child’s teeth begins their first year and even though their baby teeth are temporary, its important to start them off with good oral health.

Baby teeth help adult teeth to come in correctly but baby teeth are vulnerable to cavities just like adult teeth. In fact, 40 percent of children have tooth decay by kindergarten age. Children also need strong, healthy teeth to chew properly, speak well and to say “cheese” for all those years of school pictures.

Tooth decay in infants and toddlers is often called Baby Bottle Tooth Decay.  It usually occurs in the upper front teeth, although other teeth can also be affected.  Lots of factors can cause tooth decay, but the most common cause is when babies are put to bed with a bottle filled with fruit juice, sugar water or soft drinks.

Other ways tooth decay begins is when the mother or primary caregiver cleans a pacifier or baby spoon by licking it or by flavoring pacifiers by dipping them in honey or sugar. If parents use only bottled water a child also may not be getting enough cavity-preventing fluoride found in most public water supplies.

How to Prevent Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

  • Don’t share utensils with your child
  • Wipe your baby’s gums with a clean, damp gauze pad or washcloth until their teeth start coming in
  • Avoid filling baby bottles with fruit juice, soft drinks or sugar water. Use only breast milk, milk or formula in bottles
  • Use only clean pacifiers. Don’t dip a pacifier in anything like sugar or honey
  • Never send your child to bed with a bottle
  • Once the teeth start coming in, brush them gently with a children’s toothbrush and water. Consult with your dentist or doctor before using fluoridated toothpaste before age two
  • Brush your child’s teeth with a pea-sized amount of toothpaste from ages two to six
  • Train your child to drink from a cup by their first birthday
  • Encourage healthy eating habits
  • Be a good example by brushing twice daily and flossing regularly

Sources: MouthHealthy, Yahoo News, American Dental Assocation



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