Hi! My name is Ashley and I will be taking over Dr. Jeff’s blog! I plan to update the blog monthly with new interesting dental topics! Please feel free to leave comments and suggestions for upcoming blogs!
Just the title “Baby Bottle Decay” sounds scary…and it can be. For some parents it can even be an embarrassing subject. It is important to educate yourself on your baby’s teeth before they even have teeth. So when that first tooth erupts, you are already well prepared.
Starting oral care early is the key to a healthy start for your baby’s teeth. The minute your baby’s teeth appear is an exciting milestone! Most parents can’t wait to show off that first tooth! But it is important to remember that as soon as the tooth appears, decay can occur. Formula, breast milk, 100% fruit juice and milk all contain sugar that can cause decay. Tooth decay can occur when parents or caregivers put a baby to bed with a bottle that contains ANY beverage other than water. Therefore, never let your baby fall asleep nursing or with a bottle or else those “sugar bugs” will cause cavities on your baby’s teeth!
Cleaning your baby’s teeth on a daily basis is also an important step in preventing decay. Our office encourages parents to start before even the first sign of a tooth! Begin to clean your baby’s gums and mouth within a few days of your baby’s birth. We suggest after every feeding to use a wet gauze pad or a wash cloth and rub on the gums to remove plague and residual food. This also helps your baby become accustomed to cleaning their gums and soon to erupt teeth. Once you see a tooth erupt then you can start using a soft toothbrush and water. If using toothpaste, make sure it doesn’t have fluoride until your child is old enough to spit (usually around 2-3 years old). Swallowing fluoride can cause changes to the newly forming teeth and even upset your little ones tummy.
Starting regular dental visits at an early age is also the key to great oral hygiene. Our office suggests parents set up their child’s first dental visit at around twelve months. This ensures that we recognize any problems at the earliest time possible. It also gets your child in the habit of coming to the dentist and building a rapport with their dentist.