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What is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?

Baby teeth are essential, and if lost too early, they could lead to more severe problems down the road. Family Dentist Dr. Angela Toy of Arbor Hills Dental, located in Newberg, OR, knows how vital these teeth are and ways to avoid baby bottle tooth decay in your child.

What is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?

When a child develops tooth decay, it is also known as childhood caries. The disease is the most common cause of chronic infections in children and, when left untreated, can cause pain and requires treatment.

Tooth decay can develop as soon as a child's first tooth comes in.

Causes of Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

When the bacteria on your child's teeth feed on the sugar from their milk, juice, or snacks, they create acid that destroys their tooth enamel, leading to cavities.

The most common cause of tooth decay is when parents put their children to bed with a bottle of formula, juice, or milk. However, children are also at high risk of developing tooth decay if they frequently drink anything except water from a sippy cup or bottle.

Signs of Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

You might first notice tooth decay as white spots along the gum line of your child's front teeth, also known as their incisors. As they grow, they become brown spots on the teeth, the lead to cavities. When left untreated, the child may start to experience discomfort and swollen gums. As a family dentist, Dr. Toy, Newberg, OR, can help prevent further tooth decay with regular examinations and cleanings.

How to Prevent Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

To help prevent baby bottle tooth decay in children, it is recommended to do the following:

  • Take care of your oral health, even while pregnant. Learning good oral hygiene is just as vital for yourself as it is for your children.
  • In the child's first year, keep their mouth clean by gently wiping their gums after breast or bottle feeding. Then, at the sight of their first tooth, gently start brushing their teeth with a soft baby toothbrush and a fluoride toothpaste smear the size of a grain of rice.
  • When the child is a year old to 3 years old, brush your child's teeth twice a day for 2 minutes. You will use only a smear of fluoride toothpaste until they turn 3.
  • Avoid putting your child to bed with a bottle or food to limit their exposure to sugar.
  • Do not use a bottle or sippy cup to soothe your child.
  • Never let your child walk around with a bottle or sippy cup filled with milk or juice. Serve them milk with meals only and allow water in between meals.
  • Teach your child to drink from a cup as early as six months of age.
  • Limit your child's intake of sugar.

You and your dentist can work together to prevent tooth decay in your children. Call Dr. Toy at Arbor Hills Dental, located in Newberg, OR, today to learn more from a family dentist you can trust by calling (503) 538-2143.

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