Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay (Nursing Bottle Caries)
The term describes a dental condition which involves the rapid decay of many or all the baby teeth of an infant or child. The teeth most likely to be damaged are the upper front teeth since they are the first teeth to erupt and thus have the longest exposure time to the sugars in the feeding bottle. The lower front teeth tend to be protected by the tongue as the child sucks on the nipple of the bottle or the breast.
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay is caused by long exposure of a child's teeth to liquid containing sugars generally when the baby falls asleep with a bottle containing milk or juice or a pacifier dipped in honey. The liquid pools around the front teeth. During sleep, the bacteria living in every baby's mouth, turns the milk sugar or other sugars to acid which causes the decay.
By the time the condition is noticed by the parents it may be too late and extractions of the decayed teeth may be necessary. As a result, your child may suffer from long term disorders which include speech impediments, possible psychological damage, crooked or crowded teeth, and poor oral health.
The condition can be easily prevented by
- Clean your child's teeth daily
- Giving plain water after a bottle of juice, milk, or formula (or when awake, sip on it for long periods of time as a pacifier)
- Start bottle weaning by at least a year
- Make sure your child gets the fluoride needed to prevent decay
- Have regular dental visits for your child beginning when their first tooth erupts
We hope that you realize this and give your child the best means possible to achieve optimal dental health.
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