Our teeth are important throughout our lives, even at their initial formative stages. Baby teeth are as significant as fully developed adult teeth and we must treat them as such and protect them from harm.

At Dental Care South, Dr. Skalnik typically begins seeing children for their first dental hygiene appointments when they reach the age of three.  If they have any visible issues before that, we will gladly welcome your children in for special treatment. However, in addition to bringing children in for their first dental hygiene appointments, parents can help protect their kids’ smiles by being aware of other risk factors and how to safeguard against them. One of the greatest forms of harm baby teeth are at risk for is baby bottle decay.

What is Baby Bottle Decay?

Baby bottle decay is an oral disease that infants and toddlers can develop from exposure to sugary drinks. The decay can negatively affect newly forming teeth if specific precautions are not taken. This might not seem like the direst of circumstances, given that baby teeth will eventually fall out to make room for adult teeth anyway. However, dental hygiene is just as important in infancy as it is in adulthood, because decay can cause great, lasting damage to oral and dental health no matter what age you are.

What Causes Baby Bottle Decay?

Your child needs strong and healthy teeth to chew, speak correctly, and perform many other basic human functions. New teeth are susceptible to cavities and decay just as adult teeth are, but the risk increases when babies are exposed to sugary drinks for long periods of time through their bottles. The most common drinks that cause decay include:

  • Sugar water
  • Juice
  • Soda
  • Formula

Furthermore, it is important to note that tooth decay can build over time. That is why it is a bad idea to put your child to bed with a bottle containing a sugary beverage. This sugar will sit on your child’s teeth the entire length of his or her sleeping time.

How Do You Avoid Baby Teeth Decay & Cavities?

Avoiding the main causes of baby bottle decay is the first step toward keeping your baby’s teeth strong and healthy. Therefore, our Tuscaloosa, AL family dentistry team wants you to remember the following:

  1. Refrain from feeding your baby sugary drinks like juices and sodas from the bottle.
  2. After a feeding, wipe your baby’s gums and teeth with a damp, clean washcloth. This is an essential step in preventing baby bottle decay, as it will remove excess sugar left behind from the feeding.
  3. Never put your baby or toddler to bed with a bottle.
  4. Once your baby’s teeth start coming in, begin utilizing proper home dental hygiene practices. Namely, brush your baby’s teeth twice daily with a small child’s size toothbrush. Once your child is old enough to brush on his or her own, keep supervising the brushing until he or she reaches the age of seven.

Protect Your Child’s Baby Teeth Today!

Healthy dental hygiene practices should be applied throughout your child’s life to ensure proper tooth development and a lifetime of clean, cavity-free teeth. These practices include a healthy diet, avoiding high sugar foods and drinks, consistent, quality brushing and flossing, and regular check ups with your trusted Tuscaloosa, AL family dentistry. However, the path to a healthy, beautiful smile begins with ensuring baby teeth are protected. All parents should make their babies’ dental hygiene a top priority in order to avoid any chance of developing baby bottle decay.

For questions or concerns about your child’s newly forming teeth, please contact the team at Dental Care South and we would be happy to speak with you further. And if your child has reached the age of three, schedule an appointment for his or her first visit with Dr. Skalnik today at (205) 752-1929!

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