26 Dec How to prevent baby tooth decay
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Severe tooth decay can occur when your baby is allowed to use either the bottle or the breast as a pacifier. When a baby goes to sleep with a sweetened liquid in his mouth (such as cow’s milk, formula, breast milk, soda pop or apple juice), the acid that is formed breaks down the tooth enamel very quickly. Instead of being swallowed and washed away by saliva, the liquid stays around the teeth and causes damage.
- To prevent “baby bottle tooth decay”:
- Avoid bedtime and nap time feedings.
- Avoid long or frequent feedings.
- Wipe your child’s teeth off after feeding.
- Don’t put your baby to bed with a bottle.
- Give baby a small amount of water at the end of the feeding.
- Use the bottle at feeding time only and not as a pacifier.
- Wean the infant from the bottle or breast to a cup by 12 months of age (Picture 3).
- As teeth appear in the mouth, your baby may have some discomfort. Your baby’s gums will be sore and he may get cranky or fussy.
- It often helps if you gently rub the baby’s gums with a clean finger. Sometimes it’s helpful to give baby a clean, cold object to chew on. Try giving a teething ring that you’ve kept in the refrigerator or a non-sweetened teething biscuit.
- Teething doesn’t make a child ill, just uncomfortable. Often it seems a cold or mild fever goes along with the drooling and chewing. If your child seems ill, call your doctor. Something other than teething may be causing the problem.
Thumb-sucking and Using a Pacifier
It’s natural for all babies to want and need to suck. Usually there’s no damage to the teeth from thumb-sucking or using a natural-shaped pacifier unless this continues beyond 5 years of age. After age 5 the habit could affect the permanent teeth as they come in.