Good oral hygiene and regular visits to the family dentistry office of Dr. Ralph Mazzuca in Washington, DC, can help your child avoid baby bottle tooth decay. Putting your baby to bed with a bottle increases his or her risk of developing the condition.
What is baby bottle tooth decay?
If your baby is a little fussy in the evening or has trouble falling asleep, putting him or her to bed with a bottle may seem like an ideal solution. Unfortunately, this habit could cause cavities. During the night, milk or formula pools around your baby's teeth. Constant exposure to the sugars in these liquids can cause tooth decay. Baby bottle tooth decay can also happen if your baby uses the bottle as a pacifier during the day.
Your baby could also develop cavities if he or she is exposed to bacteria from your mouth. This can happen if you share spoons or utensils with your baby or clean off a dropped pacifier by placing it in your mouth. Although baby bottle tooth decay tends to affect the upper front teeth, cavities can form in any tooth.
What are the effects of baby bottle tooth decay?
Depending on the extent of the decay, your child's tooth may need to be removed. Pulling a baby tooth may not seem like a problem since you're child will be getting a second set of teeth. Once a tooth is lost, nearby teeth begin to drift and try to fill the opening. If this happens, there won't be enough room for your child's permanent tooth. As a result of baby bottle tooth decay, your child may need orthodontic treatment to make room for his or her permanent teeth.
How can I prevent baby bottle tooth decay?
Preventing baby bottle tooth decay isn't difficult. Don't put your baby to bed with a bottle or offer a bottle as a pacifier. If a pacifier drops on the floor, clean it with water, not your saliva. It's also important to avoid sharing spoons with your child. Checkups at the family dentistry office will help you keep your child's teeth healthy. Call your Washington, DC, dentist for an appointment within six months after the first tooth appears or by 1 year of age at the latest.
Is it time for your baby's first visit to the Washington, DC, family dentistry office? Call (202) 537-1088 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Mazzuca.