Baby Bottle Tooth Decay Prevention – How To Help My Child?
If your toddler has tooth discoloration, the problem could be baby bottle tooth decay. Tooth decay is caused by bacteria. The bacteria feed on sugars found in plaque on the teeth. The bacteria release acids that erode the tooth enamel and cause cavities. Tooth decay symptoms in toddlers include the appearance of stained teeth. In severe cases of baby bottle tooth decay the baby teeth may be lost too early. The baby teeth are place holders that help guide the permanent teeth into place. Premature loss of baby teeth because of baby bottle tooth decay increases the likelihood of orthodontic problems later in life. The dentist can stop the progression of tooth decay, but nothing can reverse tooth decay. Parents are the first line of defense in preventing baby bottle tooth decay.
The first step in preventing baby bottle tooth decay is to know how it happens. Frequently, parents will taste the food on the spoon before feeding baby. How many times have you seen someone take a spoonful of baby food and eat it, which exclaiming things like, “Yummy! Yummy!” in order to entice baby to eat? Bacteria in the parent’s saliva gets transmitted to the baby via the spoon. Adults should be careful not to transmit their mouth bacteria to the babies. Some parents will lick a pacifier to “clean” it before giving it to baby. More bacteria are transmitted. Parents sometimes dip pacifiers in honey or sugar. Bacteria thrive on sugars. Juices, even if they are diluted, or any drink with sugar provides food for the bacteria. Babies should never be put to sleep with a bottle. Since baby teeth are vulnerable to decay from the moment they emerge, make a habit of wiping your baby’s gums with clean gauze after eating.