Infants and toddlers often fall prey to the baby bottle tooth decay. This type of tooth decay hurts a lot and is a cause of much discomfort to the baby. In its initial stage it appears in the form of cavities in the baby’s four front teeth. It’s just an indication as the cavities can be present elsewhere also. With the passage of time cavities start appearing near the gum line and eventually the teeth get decayed so much that they become brown in colour.
Problems arising out of tooth decay
Various emotional and physical problems confront the child. The child does not look pretty and handsome to look at (especially while smiling or laughing) and may develop inferiority complex or low self-esteem. Baby teeth also reserve the space for adult teeth. If some of these teeth get decayed, their place may be occupied by other baby teeth. Thus, no space would be left out for the adult teeth to grow.
Causes of baby bottle tooth decay
It usually occurs when the child falls asleep with the bottle in his mouth and the bottle contains any other liquid except water. This can also be caused if the mother and the baby sleep during feeding. Actually what happens is that when a baby sleeps with bottle in his mouth, his mouth contains a small amount of milk or feed for the whole night. This results in the overgrowth of bacteria that are naturally present on the plaque. The bacteria produce various types of acids as a result of their digestive system. These acids gradually erode your baby’s teeth. The sugar in the feed is the main culprit and it may also lead to gingivitis or periodontal disease.
How to prevent tooth decay ?
Never allow your baby to sleep with the feed bottle in his mouth. If the baby insists a lot, fill his bottle with simple water. Else, don’t allow the baby to sleep for 20-25 minutes after his nighttime feed.
Also don’t allow your toddler to keep on sucking at the bottle all the daylong. This is only a bad habit and is not linked to the nourishment of the child.
Clean the gums of your baby with a clean cloth after every feed and brush his teeth daily with soft and quality baby tooth brush.
You should get fluoride free toothpaste for this purpose, as it is safe for your baby. It’s best if you brush your baby’s teeth twice, once in the morning and second time before he falls asleep at night.
When your child grows and is able to brush his teeth, always use a toothpaste having fluoride. Even give supplements to your child like vitamin supplements, so that he gets his daily requirement of fluoride. Always consult your doctor before giving such supplements.
Don’t allow your child to stick to bottle feed even when he has grown up. You can use a sippy cup at that time. Don’t be careless as regards the dental health of your child and keep on paying regular visits to your dentist.