Understanding Baby Bottle Mouth
As a parent, you will undoubtedly face endless decisions and worries over your children. Sorry, but we are going to add one more concern to your list: baby bottle mouth, also known as baby bottle tooth decay or early childhood caries.
Most infants are given a bottle at some point in their life, typically containing milk or even sweet liquids like juice. You may find that baby needs a bottle to go to sleep properly. While this may help baby sleep, you may create a potential problem with their developing smile.
What is Baby Bottle Mouth?
Baby bottle mouth is caused by prolonged exposure to sugar and acids on baby’s teeth. This occurs typically when the baby is given a bottle before going to sleep at night. If this bottle contains substances other than water, the sugars and acids present in the liquid will stay on the baby’s teeth all night. These sugars and acids lead to decay.
This decay commonly impacts the incisors (front teeth) most frequently.
They are Just Baby Teeth
Yes, the decay is affecting “just” baby teeth, but this can create serious problems. Baby teeth have many critical jobs you can read about in “The Importance of Baby Teeth”.
This early onset decay can cause problems such as:
- Chronic pain
- Chewing difficulty (which can lead to poor eating/nutritional habits)
- Dental infection
- Tooth loss
- Deformation of permanent teeth
Preventing Baby Bottle Mouth
The good news is this can be prevented. The easiest prevention is to take your baby to the dentist as soon as possible. Ideally, before their first tooth comes in so your dentist can help provide education on keeping baby’s mouth clean. Once their first tooth erupts, your dentist can provide information on keeping their teeth clean and preventing decay.
Things you can do to prevent decay:
- Avoid sugary beverages in their bottle, especially before bed
- Practice good oral hygiene – cleaning their teeth and gums after feedings or at least twice a day
- Use a clean pacifier in place of the bottle before bed
- If needed, place only water in their bottle before bed
- Ensure your child is getting enough fluoride
We are the Pediatric Pros
Mom and Dad, did you know that we specialize in pediatric dental care as well? If you haven’t brought your little ones in to see us yet, now is the time! Give us a call to book their first visit with us today: 763.546.1301