Baby bottle tooth decay is on the rise. For many people, the idea of babies dealing with decaying teeth is a surprising development. Some parents are under the impression that childhood teeth “don’t matter,” since they’re not permanent. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Allowing your child’s teeth to become damaged can have lifelong consequences. If problems have already developed, it’s imperative that you seek treatment from a dentist or potentially an oral surgeon to establish the foundation for future dental health as soon as possible. Here is a closer look at what parents need to know.
What Causes Baby Bottle Decay?
Baby bottle decay is caused when sugary liquids come into contact with your child’s teeth and are left there for a long time. Over time, bacteria turn the sugar into acid which causes damage to your child’s dentition. Common sources of the issue are putting sugary liquids such as juices, soft drinks, and Kool-Aid type beverages into baby bottles. As the baby or toddler drinks, the bottle and the liquid linger in the mouth. In some cases, it can happen with the sugars in drinks such as milk or formula as well. It’s also possible that sugary syrups or flavor items put onto pacifiers to make them more palatable can cause the same issues.
Preventing Damage to Baby Teeth
There are numerous steps that parents can take to help prevent damage to baby teeth. One of the most important is being aware of limiting sugary beverages and foods. Be especially vigilant when your child is about to nap or go to bed, as sugary items can increase salivation and compound the problem. The second is providing good dental care. Clean your baby’s gums with gauze or a washcloth after feeding. Begin brushing, without toothpaste, as soon as the first tooth comes in. Be diligent about dentist visits beginning when your child is a year old with a pediatric dentist.
Treating Damage That Has Already Occurred
If you suspect that your child has already experienced bottle-related damage, schedule a dentist visit as soon as possible. In some cases, it’s possible to save the tooth. In others, your dentist may refer you to an oral surgeon for treatment. An experienced oral surgeon with a track record in pediatric dentistry will understand all elements of putting you and your child at ease, including:
- Explaining the extraction procedure and sedation options that you’re comfortable with;
- Providing a professional and friendly bedside manner that resonates with younger children;
- Employing a helpful staff that makes the visit pleasant and efficient;
- Giving advice on ongoing care for prevention of similar issues in the future.
Are you the parent of young child that needs oral surgery? Contact Capital Oral and Facial Surgery Center today to arrange for a personalized consultation.