Does your baby love his feeding bottle and is he refusing to give it up? Are you worried that introducing him to the sippy cup may adversely affect his appetite? Well, if you can relate to the above situations reading this post is a good idea!
All new mothers find it a challenge to make their little ones graduate from their feeding bottles to sippy cups. But do you know that if your baby prolongs the use of his feeding bottle he is likely to suffer from tooth decay? If you are clueless and curious to know more about how your baby’s bottle may take a toll on his dental health and how to treat baby bottle tooth decay, read on!
What Is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?
Baby bottle tooth decay is a common dental problem that plagues babies. In most cases, your baby will be at a higher risk of getting baby bottle tooth decay if he drinks liquids that contain a lot of sugar in it, especially artificial sugars. Baby bottle tooth decay can also happen if your baby uses a feeding bottle to have fluids that contain natural sugar in them, like milk, fresh or canned fruit juice, and formula milk.
As your baby cannot use the brush properly yet, there is a high chance that the bacteria present in these liquids will cling on to his teeth. The germs in your baby’s mouth will grow with each sugar intake and will form acids that will cause dental decay.
[ Read: Tips To Stop Bottle Feeding In Babies ]
When Increases The Risk Of Getting Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?
Your little one is likely to suffer from baby bottle tooth decay in the following situations:
- If your baby uses a pacifier and if you regularly dip it in a sweet liquid to make it tempting.
- If you give him sugary fluids through the day, he is likely to have poor dental health.
- If your baby loves to go to bed while having milk from the bottle. He will experience a decrease in the flow of saliva, and his mouth will turn into a breeding ground for bacteria.
[ Read: How To Brush Baby’s Teeth ]
What Are The Side Effects Of Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?
You may think that your baby’s teeth are temporary, and even if they do get infected, they will fall off soon. However, your baby’s milk teeth are also very important, as they help him achieve some very important milestones like smiling, eating, chewing, and even speaking.
If you do not take timely measures to treat baby bottle tooth decay, it can cause severe pain and discomfort to your little one. Also, your baby’s tiny milk teeth are the positions for his permanent teeth later. If there are cavities in his milk teeth, it can create problems in his dental placement going forward.
[ Read: How To Take Care Of Baby’s Teeth ]
How To Prevent Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?
Here are some ways you can prevent baby bottle tooth decay:
- Use a clean gauze or cloth to gently wipe your baby’s gums and teeth after each feeding session.
- Once your baby gets his first tooth, get a baby brush for him. Use it each day to clean his tooth and gums with water, without using any toothpaste.
- Once your baby has more teeth, ask his pediatrician when it is a good time for him to start using toothpaste. Use toothpaste that contains fluoride, it will help prevent a cavity.
- Once your baby is around one year of age, schedule an appointment with the dentist for a general checkup. He may recommend using a sealant coating to prevent any tooth decay.
- Avoid adding sugar to your baby’s drinks, whether it is milk, formula, juice or even water.
- Avoid giving a bottle to your baby after he turns a year old. Introduce him to the sippy cup and eventually the glass.
[ Read: When To Introduce Sippy Cups To Babies ]
- If you are giving fresh or packaged juice to your baby, mix it with plain water to dilute the sugar content in it.
- Do not give your baby any soft drinks as they have no nutritional value but only add to the risk of developing tooth decay.
- Give your baby milk before it is bedtime, to prevent him from falling asleep while drinking. Try and advance the time of his night feed by half an hour or so. Offer him milk in a cup before he is too sleepy.
- Avoid the use of pacifiers as much as possible. If your baby is in the habit of using one, make sure you do not dip it in anything sweet to make it more tempting.
- If you have introduced sugar to your baby, try cutting down the quantity. Let your baby enjoy the natural flavors of fresh fruits and vegetables without loading them with sugar or other artificial sweeteners.
- Gradually give your baby his bottle for sipping water only. Serve him milk in a colorful cup to encourage him to give up his feeding bottle. Remember, it may take a while for your baby to adjust to the change, but keep trying and do not give up.
Baby bottle tooth decay is a very common dental issue in babies, and so if your little one develops a cavity, you need not hit the panic button. Make sure you motivate him to inculcate hygienic oral practices early on in life.
Did your baby suffer from baby bottle tooth decay? What treatment did his dentist advise? Please share your experience and tips with other moms here.
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