Even though they are temporary, a child’s teeth still need to be kept healthy.
Tooth decay in infants and toddlers is often called baby bottle tooth decay, according to the American Dental Association. It most often occurs in the upper front teeth, but can occur in other teeth as well.
Batavia dentist Ronald Murphy said oftentimes baby bottle tooth decay can occur when infants are given a bottle at night to go to bed. Bacteria lives in the mouth and feeds on whatever a person eats or drinks. Milk, breast milk and formula all contain carbohydrates and sugars that break down and can cause decay.
If a child is put to bed with a bottle, and is not required to brush his or her teeth before falling asleep, tooth decay can occur.
“Whether it is two teeth or all 20 teeth, once a tooth comes in, you have to start taking care of it,” Murphy said.
Murphy added it is important to educate parents on baby bottle decay and how they can correct it if it is occurring in their child. He said it is important that children finish their naptime or bedtime bottles and then care for their teeth before going to bed.
“Kids need to brush their teeth and then no more bottles,” Murphy said.
The American Dental Association advises that tooth decay can also be caused when cavity-causing bacteria are passed from the primary caregiver to the infant through saliva. When a caregiver puts the baby’s feeding spoon or cleans a pacifier in her mouth, bacteria can be spread to the baby. The American Dental Association suggests wiping the child’s gums with a clean, damp gauze pad or washcloth after every feeding.
Murphy Dentistry | 1605 W. Wilson St #114, Batavia, IL 60510 | 630.879.7642 | murphydentistry.com