Baby bottle tooth decay is a type of tooth decay that affects infants and very young children. Contrary to popular belief, babies are susceptible to tooth decay from the first moments their teeth start growing, even if they do not indulge in sugary sweets yet.
Milk and formula also contain sugars. If the baby’s teeth and gums are not properly cleaned after feeding, over time, these sugars can lead to cavities.
How Do Cavities Form in Babies?
The sugars in milk and formula feed the bacteria found in the mouth and help them multiply. As the bacteria eat the sugars, it releases a type of acid that attacks the tooth enamel, which over time can lead to tooth decay.
While cavities in infants are most common on the upper front teeth, they can develop on any tooth. It’s important to know the signs that a cavity forming and take your child to see a pediatric dentist right away:
- Dark or brown spots on the tooth
- Pain or swelling
- Fussing when the milk is too hot or cold (because of increased sensitivity)
How Can You Prevent Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?
Good oral hygiene can help reduce the risk of cavities in babies and young children. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Clean the child’s gums with a gentle washcloth or clean finger after every meal
- Start brushing their teeth as soon as they appear with a gentle toothbrush
- Limit how much juice your child drinks
- Swap milk and juices with water as much as possible
- When your child is old enough, use fluoride toothpaste and instruct them not to swallow it
- Floss the child’s teeth once they grow in
- Take them to see a pediatric dentist routinely
How Are Cavities Treated in a Baby?
For toddlers and small children, it’s common to use a dental filling to treat a cavity, even if the little one still has their baby teeth. A pediatric dentist will remove all the impacted tissue from the tooth, and then will fill the whole with a special material that restores the tooth’s look and function.
If caught in its early stages, the dentist may be able to apply a dental sealant instead of a filling. Dental sealants are a type of protective lawyer used to prevent cavities in infants from growing and getting worse.
My Child Has a Cavity. What Now?
While seeing them get their first tooth is exciting, the first cavity can make any patient anxious. If you notice your child may be developing a cavity, bring them to Kindred Pediatric Dentistry for an appointment.
Our pediatric dentistry services in Beaumont can help restore your child’s oral health, and help them have a beautiful and healthy smile.
Book an appointment with Dr. Meghanne Kruizenga online and bring your little one in for a consultation. Need to learn more? Then call us at (951) 572-8010.