Even though children's teeth are not permanent, taking care of them is still very important. Baby Bottle Tooth Decay or (BBTD) is a huge health problem in infants & toddlers. Cavities can be caused by sugary liquids being in the infants mouth for frequent and long period of time. Some of these liquids are milk, breast milk, fruit juices and yogurt drinks.
When putting your baby to bed for the night or a nap, use water if they need a bottle. Even if your baby is used to milk, it's important to make the switch. Try gradually diluting the bottle with water over a week or two. Milk and breast milk contain sugar and will soak and collect in the mouth as he or she sleeps. The child's teeth become surrounded by this sweet cavity causing bacteria liquid while sleeping. This bacteria produces an acid which attacks and eats away at the enamel.
After a feeding, make sure to wipe off your baby's teeth with a clean wash cloth or gauze pad. As your baby develops teeth, you can switch over to an infant tooth brush. Web MD lists these suggestions to help prevent baby bottle tooth decay:
- Practice good oral hygiene and don't share utensils or put your baby's pacifier in your mouth.
- Wipe baby's gums with a clean, damp cloth after each feeding.
- Brush teeth with water and a child's toothbrush as soon as teeth break through the skin.
- Begin using fluoride toothpaste at about age 2, or when baby can spit. You will need to brush your child's teeth until at least age 6.
- Only formula, milk or breast milk go in baby bottles -- never juice or other sugary drinks.
- Don't put your child to bed with a bottle filled with anything but water.
- Make sure pacifiers are clean (with soap and water) and never dip them in honey or other sweeteners.
- Limit sweet treats, provide exposure to fluoride and introduce baby to a sippy cup by the first birthday.