What is "Baby Bottle" Tooth Decay?

One common way a baby can develop cavities is called “baby bottle tooth decay.” This condition  occurs when a child’s teeth are frequently exposed to sugary liquids, such as milk (including breast milk), formula, fruit juice and other sweetened liquids for long periods.  With the nutrient source of the sugars, harmful bacteria thrive in the oral environment and begin to destroy tooth enamel, often affecting multiple teeth and resulting in “rampant” decay.

Without treatment, tooth decay progresses and can eventually cause pain, infection and abscesses.   Severely decayed teeth may need to be extracted.  

If teeth are infected or lost too early due to baby bottle tooth decay, a child may develop poor eating habits, speech problems, crooked teeth and damaged adult teeth.

Prevention of “Baby Bottle Tooth Decay Syndrome”

The key to preventing decay in an infant’s baby teeth is to keep the mouth clean between feedings and avoid using nursing bottles as pacifiers.   If you must give your baby a bottle at bedtime or naptime, make sure it contains plain water.  Also, you should never give a baby a pacifier that has been dipped in honey or sugar. 

Healthy baby teeth will help ensure your child has healthy permanent teeth!  Please feel free to contact us or visit www.knowyourteeth.com for more information about your child’s oral health.

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