What are baby bottle cavities and how do you prevent them?

Posted on: 20 January 2016

If your baby often sleeps with a bottle at night and has been showing signs of tooth decay, it might actually be due to the bottle. This is called baby bottle decay, which can ultimately lead to baby bottle cavities. Unfortunately, it is relatively common with babies and toddlers that drink milk and juice from their bottle. Here is more information about this occurrence and what can be done about it.

What are the causes and risks of baby bottle cavities?

Baby bottle cavities are caused by tooth decay from using a bottle too much. This typically occurs when the baby goes to sleep with a bottle that is filled with milk or formula, since the sugars stick to the teeth while the baby sleeps. Parents often send their baby to bed with a bottle to help them sleep or because they are being fussy. While it may offer temporary relief, the baby's oral health is put at jeopardy. The decay can also be caused by bacteria being passed from the mother's mouth to the baby's, such as cleaning a pacifier with her mouth after picking it up off the ground.

What are the dangers of baby bottle decay?

The reason you need to be concerned about baby bottle decay and cavities is because it can affect the baby's adult teeth that haven't yet erupted. That decay may not only affect their baby teeth, which are going to fall out anyway. If it goes deep into the gum, the adult teeth have decay when they come through, which may then need fillings or even root canals. Some toddlers go through painful procedures due to this issue. It could also cause poor eating habits, a fear of the dentist, speech problems and misaligned teeth when they come in.

Is the decay treatable?

If you manage to catch the tooth decay fast enough, you might be able to treat it and prevent it from worsening. When you suspect baby bottle tooth decay, look at the baby's teeth. If there are white spots on them, they are probably developing decay. Get your baby into a pediatric dentist right away. They might be able to offer fluoride treatment to protect the tooth's surface and reduce the overall amount of decay. In addition to this, there are standard dental treatments for decay, including fillings and restorative work. Decay that leads to infections instead of simply cavities often requires extractions.

Is there any way to prevent it?

Before your baby develops baby bottle cavities, work hard to prevent it. If you like sending your baby to bed with a bottle, make sure it only has water in it. It is best to avoid this habit altogether. Brush your baby's teeth as soon as they come in and bring them to a dentist after the first tooth has erupted. Fluoride toothpaste can be used when they get a little older. If your baby falls asleep with a bottle, remove it from their mouth immediately. For more information, contact a dentist like Complete Dental Care.


Looking younger and fresher

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