What is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?
This is a form of tooth decay which occurs in babies and toddlers, (children under 3 years of age), as a result of prolonged and frequent exposure of the teeth to liquids containing sugar such as milk, formula, juice, pop, or other sweetened drinks.
How does it happen?
When children are given a bottle at bed/nap time the sugary liquid pools in the mouth. Cavities start to form because the sugar fuels the bacteria in your child’s mouth, producing acids that break down tooth enamel. The longer and more frequent the exposures, the greater the damage that occurs. The teeth most likely to be damaged are the upper front teeth, which are critical to your child’s smile and health!
What are the consequences of Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?
This decay may even enter the underlying bone structure, which can hamper development of the permanent teeth, and be a major source of PAIN for your baby. It can also lead to poor eating habits, speech problems, low self-esteem, social problems, low weight, slowed growth, and irritability.
Keep in mind, baby’s first teeth are vital to healthy adult teeth. Primary teeth hold a space for permanent teeth. If your child loses a tooth because of decay, the permanent tooth may erupt at an angle, causing crowding of the adult teeth.
Treatment of this condition may require extensive dental work, including crowns, tooth extraction and eventually orthodontics. The cost can be significant, especially if general anaesthesia is required, and can be a traumatic experience for your child.
What does it look like?
In mild cases, your child’s teeth will have a chalky white appearance. In moderate cases, teeth will be stained brown and may be partially eroded. In the most serious cases, teeth will be dark brown or black with partial or full loss of the tooth’s crown, leaving only the root visible at the gumline.
How can it be prevented?
Baby bottle tooth decay is totally preventable. You can protect your child from this devastating syndrome simply by refusing to put your child to sleep with sugary liquids such as milk, formula, juice, pop, or other sweetened drinks. By practicing good oral hygiene at home, you will teach your child habits that will last a lifetime. Also ensure you follow regular dental visits for check ups and cleanings.
First Impressions Dental Hygiene Clinic cares about your oral health. Visit us today, because… a healthy smile starts here!