How often should you take your child to a pediatric dentist in Morton, IL? According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, children should start visiting a dentist at least once every six months by the time their first tooth erupts. Dental visits are essential because it reduces your child’s risk of developing oral health problems. One of the most common oral health issues that affect children is baby bottle tooth decay. Is baby bottle tooth decay preventable?
Preventing Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Understanding Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Baby bottle tooth decay, also known as nursing bottle syndrome or childhood caries, occurs when your child’s teeth are constantly exposed to sugars from their drinks such as formula milk, fruit juices, sugar water and any other sweet beverage. Infants who are breastfed and fall asleep with milk in their mouths can also develop tooth decay.
Keep in mind that oral bacteria feed on sugars. As they feed on sugar, they release powerful acids capable of eroding the hardest part of your tooth, creating holes in your enamel that will later develop into cavities. Unfortunately, cavities and tooth decay left untreated will cause pain making eating and chewing difficult.
Another consequence of untreated tooth decay is that once your child’s baby teeth are destroyed, they won’t be able to guide your permanent teeth to their appropriate positions leading to crooked and crowded permanent teeth. A severely decayed tooth can also result in a tooth abscess.
What to Do to Prevent Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Luckily, you can protect your child’s teeth against baby bottle tooth decay by doing the following:
· When your baby is fussy, you can comfort your child with a pacifier or give plain water instead of sugary drinks. There are many ways to soothe your baby; you just have to be creative.
· Don’t dip your baby’s pacifier in any sugary liquid like honey, as this can cause tooth decay.
· Avoid putting your baby to sleep with a bottle filled with a sugary beverage, and yes, that includes milk, as it increases their likelihood of developing tooth decay. You can give your baby a pacifier or water, but not too much water.
· What if your baby nurses at night? What should you do? If your baby prefers to nurse at night, make sure you remove your breast from your baby’s mouth once they fall asleep.
· Avoid adding sugar or honey to your baby’s food.
· If your baby has no tooth yet, you can use a wet clean gauze to clean their gums after nursing or feeding.
· Consult with your pediatric dentist about your baby’s fluoride needs. Sometimes the fluorinated water you drink is not enough to meet your baby’s needs. Some pediatric dentists prescribe fluoride treatments and supplements to help strengthen your child’s teeth.
· When your child reaches one year old, introduce the use of a sippy cup. Drinking from a sippy cup helps decrease your child’s vulnerability to tooth decay since it limits their teeth’s exposure to sugars.
Are You Looking for a Trustworthy Pediatric Dentist in Morton, IL?
We're here for you if you need help with your child’s oral health. At Smalltown Dental, we aim to keep you and your family relaxed as we meet your dental care needs with our customized and affordable treatment plans. We take pride in our years of training and experience that is useful in helping you achieve a beautiful and healthy smile! Contact us today for an appointment.