Baby Bottle Decay, The Facts:

Have you ever put your child to bed with a bottle of juice or milk? Don’t be ashamed, you’re not alone. Many parents don’t realize the harmful effects this may have on their child’s teeth.

Milk, formula, soda and fruit juice, even when watered down, contain sugars. When your child sleeps their saliva flow is decreased and these liquids stay on their teeth and gums. This feeds the bacteria in the plaque and the acid that is produced by the bacterial can attack the teeth, eventually resulting in tooth decay (“baby bottle decay”), even possible infection and pain. If the baby bottle decay is left untreated, it can lead to the primary teeth needing to be extracted, which could cause future problems with speech, eating habits and crooked or damaged adult teeth.

What Can I Do As A Parent?

If your child is already used to sleeping with a sugary liquid slowly start watering down the contents day by day with water until the child gets used to just drinking water. Also incorporate more water into their diet during the day so they do not crave sugary drinks. Ideally try not to give your child a bottle to sleep with at night. To help prevent baby bottle decay and achieve healthy teeth and gums for your infant, take a wet gauze and gently massage the teeth and gums, especially after each feeding. When your child gets their first baby tooth, it is recommended that you begin to brush the teeth and gums using a soft toothbrush and water, no toothpaste. Toothpaste for children isn’t recommended until after the second birthday.  It’s recommended that your child has their first dental visit be around the age of 2-3 years old unless there any concerns before that.

Always remember if you ever have any questions or doubts about your child’s teeth your dentist is only a phone call away. No question is a dumb question when it comes the your child and their oral health!

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