For parents, being aware of the risks our children face and avoiding them is job number one. And this is true of dental risks as well.
However, oral care usually isn’t considered much of an issue until children get older, have a mouth full of teeth, and are on to solid food. But there are risks long before teeth emerge that parents should be aware of.
One of the major dental issues for infants is baby bottle tooth decay. This condition is a threat even when children are only consuming formula or milk and don’t have many teeth in at all. At Prevent Dental Suite, we want all new parents to be aware of this potential problem, its symptoms, and how to treat it.
What Is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?
Baby bottle tooth decay is another name for tooth decay in the mouths of infants and toddlers. Its name comes from the frequency of children developing cavities as a result of prolonged exposure to sugary drinks in baby bottles.
Tooth decay takes place if cavity-causing bacteria remains in the mouth for a long period of time, including putting a child to bed with a bottle of milk or juice. Tooth decay can also be transferred from adult to infant through saliva, which is why Prevent Dental Suite recommends again sharing utensils with your child or sucking pacifiers to clean them.
Who Cares About Temporary Teeth?
Parents sometimes wonder why it is important to care or baby teeth, given that they will fall out and be replaced by permanent ones. But the fact is, temporary teeth are important for several reasons. Here are a few.
Important for permanent teeth: Primary teeth hold the jaw space needed for the proper development of adult teeth. In perfect circumstances a baby tooth stays in the jaw until the permanent tooth underneath is about to erupt. When the permanent tooth is ready, the roots of the primary tooth break down and the baby tooth loosens and falls out, usually bringing a visit from the tooth fairy!
Losing a baby tooth before the adult tooth is ready can cause major spatial problems for permanent teeth, as the baby tooth is no longer holding a space for the permanent one.
Proper health and nutrition: If a child cannot properly chew food, poor nutrition can result. If cavities are left unattended, the risk of infection increases and it can spread to body and even to the brain. In extreme cases children have died from dental abscesses.
Maintaining healthy baby teeth helps to build good dental habits: Teaching the techniques of good oral hygiene can have a lifelong effect on your child’s dental and overall health. Introducing good dental habits early, including visits to the dental office, can instill the importance of preventative dental care in a child’s mind.
Symptoms Of Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Baby bottle tooth decay can be subtle and it may not be clear there is a problem until serious damage has occurred. Parents should be on the lookout for early signs of decay including brown spots along the gumline; aversion to hard foods; or negative reactions to cold, sweet, or hard foods. If you see these symptoms, it’s time to visit Prevent Dental Suite!
But if decay is evident, serious treatment may be needed. Untreated decay can lead to long-term issues including speech impediments, possible psychological damage/decreased self-esteem, misaligned or crowded teeth, and poor overall oral health.
Prevent these unhappy outcomes by learning how to protect your children’s temporary teeth.
How To Prevent Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
No matter how soothing it is for a child, never let them go to sleep with a bottle containing milk, formula, juice or other sweetened liquids.
Be sure to clean and massage a baby’s gums once a day to help establish healthy teeth and to aid in teething. Wrap a moistened gauze square or washcloth around the finger and gently massage the gums and gingival tissues.
Defending against plaque should start when the first baby tooth comes in. Brush your child’s teeth with a soft toothbrush and dab amount of toothpaste. Unless your dentist recommends otherwise, use non-fluoride toothpaste. Bring your child to the dentist when the child is between 6 and 12 months old, for a checkup and to begin acclimatizing them to the dentist’s office.
High-Quality Dental Care At Prevent Dental Suite
Prevent Dental Suite is comprised of dedicated dental professionals who provide gentle and patient-oriented care to offer the best-quality dental service from the moment patients enter into our office. Dr. Shilpa Gupta is the resident dentist at our Kallangur clinic, and combines many years’ experience with personable service.
Parking is easy and it’s free. Parking is located at the rear of the building – access via Storey Road.
Child Dental Benefits Schedule
Bulk Bill for children who are eligible for MEDICARE CHILD DENTAL BENEFIT SCHEDULE
Up to $1,013 worth of dental treatments over two years
Learn more about Child Dental Benefits Schedule
Call us on (07) 3886 2428 or visit us at 9/1376 Anzac Ave in Kallangur.