Does your infant or toddler have signs of decay on their baby teeth? It can be stressful for a parent to learn that their child is already dealing with tooth decay before they’ve even graduated to sippy cups, but you should know that baby bottle tooth decay is not all that uncommon. And fortunately, your child’s oral health can be restored relatively simply, with prompt attention.
If you’re wondering what to do about your child’s tooth decay, or you’re simply concerned about preventing it from happening, take a look at these simple tips for treating and preventing baby bottle tooth decay.
What Is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?
Baby bottle tooth decay is an oral health issue that some infants and toddlers experience due to bottle overuse. Prolonged exposure to the sugars found in some milk formulas, juices, and other drinks can erode the protective enamel on your child’s teeth and create cavities, ultimately resulting in premature tooth loss.
Signs of Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Keep an eye out for the following signs that your child is experiencing tooth decay: 1
- Small white spots on the teeth
- Toothaches or sensitivity
- Swelling of the gums
Contact your family dentist immediately if you notice one or more of these symptoms. Treatment becomes more complex the longer the decay has to develop.
Why You Want to Protect Baby Teeth
Knowing that permanent ones will eventually replace your child’s baby teeth can bring relief after noticing baby bottle tooth decay. However, the truth is that the health of your child’s baby teeth is critical to their development and the future of their oral health.
Your child is learning to eat and speak while still having baby teeth. If tooth decay impairs their ability to do that, it may hinder the development of these skills significantly. Those decayed baby teeth can also cause an infection that affects the development of their permanent teeth, which can start your child’s oral health off on the wrong foot.
Preventing Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
If you’d like to avoid tooth decay in your infant or toddler, try these practical tips:
Wipe Their Gums After Feeding
Even before any teeth have erupted, you can work toward avoiding tooth decay by cleaning their mouths with a wet cloth after they’ve been fed.
Start Brushing Early
Once a tooth has erupted, it’s time to start brushing. Get a soft bristle brush, and begin a regular oral care routine with them.
See Your Dentist
You will want to start bringing your child to the dentist from the moment their first tooth erupts. If it hasn’t erupted within their first year, it’s still best to visit the dentist to see if any issues are present.
Wean Off the Bottle
Once they’ve turned one, it’s usually a good idea to start weaning your child off their bottle and onto a sippy cup. This will also help to prevent baby bottle tooth decay. Never let your baby fall asleep with a bottle.
Treating Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Even the most valiant efforts to avoid decay can fail. If that’s the case for you, then your dentist is likely to suggest one of the following options for treatment: 1
If detected early enough, your child’s dentist can apply fluoride to their teeth which can help to remineralize them and prevent the cavities from developing further.
Once cavities have developed to a certain point, fluoride will not be enough to stop the decay from spreading. Your child’s dentist can provide them with a dental filling or a crown if the decay is advanced enough.
Root Canal Treatment or Extraction
If the decay has reached the inner tooth and affected the dental pulp, the best options for treatment are a root canal treatment or tooth extraction.
Family Dentistry from Empire Dental Care in Webster, NY
If your child is experiencing baby bottle tooth decay, the experienced team at Empire Dental Care can help. We will customize your child’s care to their personal needs and offer flexible scheduling and convenient financing options. To learn more, call or contact us online today. Give us a call at 585-671-1650.