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Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Do you know someone who dips their child’s pacifier in honey, sugar, or syrup? What about that parent who gives their child a baby bottle full of juice right before bed? These are examples of ways to cause Baby Bottle Tooth Decay in your child’s first teeth and it is not recommended by your dentist.

Tooth decay in infants and small children is generally due to what the baby is consuming in the baby bottle. Liquids containing sugars such as milk, formula, soda, and sweetened juices swish around the child’s teeth and gums feeding decay. It is often more pronounced in children still receiving a bottle because the feeding often takes longer (resulting in the sugary drink surrounding and sitting on the teeth producing decay) and then the child is often put to sleep immediately after (allowing the sugar to seep into bacteria on the teeth over night resulting in plaque and ultimately decay and cavities). If the decay and cavities are left untreated pain and infection may result leading to extraction of the baby teeth. This is extremely serious because if the baby teeth are lost too early your child may develop speech problems, crooked teeth, or damaged adult teeth.

To prevent baby bottle tooth decay Dr. McCargar recommends never allowing the child to fall asleep with a bottle containing juice, or other sweetened liquids. Dr. McCargar says the American Dental Association recommends gently massaging the baby’s gums and gingival tissue using your finger wrapped in moistened gauze or a washcloth after each feeding. Brushing with a soft toothbrush and water is recommended at the first sign of a baby tooth; however, fluoride containing toothpaste should not be used until after the child’s second birthday (unless your dentist advises you otherwise based on evaluation).