Tooth care and maintenance should begin at the first sign of the first tooth. It is just as important to clean your baby’s teeth as it is to clean your own. You should try to brush, or clean, your child’s teeth twice a day. If your child swallows the toothpaste, we recommend buying a children’s toothpaste that does not contain fluoride. Once your child learns to spit out the toothpaste, you may want to change to a children’s toothpaste with fluoride. We also recommend flossing your child’s teeth. If you start early, the habit will form and your child will always floss. If you have good oral habits, your children will have good oral habits.
One of the most serious dental problems for young children is baby bottle tooth decay. This syndrome is caused by the constant presence of milk, formula, fruit juice or any liquids that contain sugar during the night or for extended periods during the day. The sugary liquid provides ‘food’ for the bacteria in plaque that is located on your baby’s teeth. When the bacteria consume the ‘food’, it produces acid that attack your child’s teeth and cause decay.
This is a serious syndrome because it can lead to toothaches, which can make it very difficult for your child to eat. Also, if baby bottle tooth decay is left untreated, the decay can cause infection, which can result in having to remove the teeth. When baby teeth are lost too early it can result in several long term issues for your child, such as, speech problems, crooked teeth and permanent damage to adult teeth.
Baby bottle tooth decay can be prevented pretty easily. The first step is to make sure you clean your child’s teeth after each feeding and once all the primary teeth have erupted, you should begin to floss. Secondly, if your child goes to bed with a bottle or sippy cup, make sure it contains water. If you follow those tips and visit your dentist regularly, your child should not have any issues with baby bottle tooth decay.