Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
The baby teeth might only be temporary, but they are incredibly important. The first baby tooth typically erupts around the age of 6 months. The teeth continue to gradually erupt for the next 2 years. By the time your child is 3, they should have all 20 baby teeth. While these teeth begin to fall out around the age of 5 or 6 and are gradually replaced by permanent teeth, they play many important roles while your child has them.
The baby teeth allow your child to enjoy a variety of different foods. They help your child develop proper speech patterns as they learn to talk. They also give your child their cute little smile. A common issue faced by young children that can affect the health of their baby teeth is baby bottle tooth decay. Puget Sound Pediatric Dentistry can help.
What is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?
Baby bottle tooth decay is tooth decay that occurs in infants and toddlers. It is decay that occurs in the baby teeth. Typically, it affects the upper front teeth, but other teeth may be affected as well. The process can start soon after the teeth erupt, but it typically is not noticed until after the age of 1. Baby bottle tooth decay is the leading cause of decay and cavities in young children.
What Causes Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?
The main cause of baby bottle tooth decay is young children having sugary substances in their mouth for an extended period. This includes liquids such as:
||All types of juice
This type of decay typically because a young child has fallen asleep with a bottle in their mouth. The sugary liquid pools in their mouth. The bacteria in their mouth, then feed on the sugars, producing acids that cause the decay to occur.
In addition to sleeping with a bottle of sugary liquid, the shape of the bottle can play a role. For instance, if the bottle is made to push liquid to the back of the mouth, it can interfere with normal saliva production. This allows buildup to accumulate on the teeth, which can then contribute to decay.
Can Baby Bottle Decay be Treated?
Baby bottle tooth decay can be treated. The exact treatment your child receives will depend upon their age and the severity of the decay. As soon as you notice signs of decay, it is important to schedule an appointment. In the early stages, decay can be reversed with fluoride treatments. This is a special varnish that is applied directly to the surfaces of the teeth. It aids in remineralizing the teeth, giving them back their strength. If the decay is more serious, fillings or crowns may be required to treat and protect the teeth.
Treating bottle decay as soon as it is noticed is important. While the baby teeth may be temporary, they are very important. Significant decay can lead to an infection inside of the tooth, which can then affect the developing adult tooth underneath. Infections can also result in tooth loss, which can then affect the eruption of the adult teeth, leading to issues such as overcrowding and the need for orthodontic treatment.
How Can I Prevent Baby Bottle Decay?
Preventing baby bottle tooth decay is essential for protecting the oral health of your child. For young infants, wipe their gums with a damp washcloth to clean away sugars and bacteria. As your child gets their baby teeth, work with them to brush their teeth twice a day. Avoid letting your child sleep with their bottle. If they do need a bottle to sleep and are older, provide them with a bottle of water instead of milk or juice.
Helping your young child to take good care of their baby teeth can help to keep those teeth clean and healthy until they are ready to fall out on their own. For more information, and to schedule an appointment for your child, call Puget Sound Pediatric Dentistry at 360-659-8100, 360-863-8700, 425-367-4149, 360-339-8000 today.