Infant Dental Care: How to Avoid Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Parents, especially those who just had their first child, are constantly worrying about their infant’s health. Tooth decay doesn’t have to be another reason to stay up at night. Apart from the obvious measure of avoiding sugary drinks and food for your infant, here are some tips to avoid baby bottle tooth decay.

Wipe Their Teeth—Even after Milk!

It’s important to remember is that sugary liquids aren’t just soda and juice. Milk and formula also contain sugars that can cause tooth decay in infants. Of course, these are the two mainstays of an infant’s diet. After feeding your baby, the experts at Pedodontic Associates Inc. recommend gently wiping the child’s teeth with cloth or gauze. This helps remove plaque and bacteria that can lead to tooth decay.

No Overnight Bottles

Parents should also never leave an infant overnight with any liquid other than water. Even breast milk contains enough sugar to allow bacteria to damage tooth enamel. If your infant is already used to having a comfort bottle at night, consider diluting the milk or juice with water each night, weaning the child from the nighttime need for sugar.

Don’t Share Spoons

Sharing utensils can also lead to tooth decay in an infant. Parents often share from their own spoons or clean pacifiers with their mouths, but this habit can swap bacteria in the saliva from parent to child. This bacteria can then harm the enamel in a baby’s tooth. Keep separate utensils for your infant and only use water to cleanse pacifiers.

Sippy Cups Breed Bacteria

Sippy cups prevent spills and stains, but it’s a good idea to get your child to use a cup by their first birthday. Sippy cups let sugary liquids pool in a child’s mouth and around their teeth, allowing plaque bacteria to thrive. A regular cup doesn’t do this. If you do use sippy cups, only fill them with water. It’s alright to fill a sippy cup with juice during meals, but diluting those drinks with water keeps the sugar down—and it’s healthier, too.

It’s important to take care of your infant’s teeth, even when they’re just starting to come in. Baby bottle tooth decay can cause pain or even lead to serious infections if it’s not treated. If you think your infant has tooth decay, be sure to bring them to a dentist with expertise in babies and young children.

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