Oral health care should start during the first year of a child. Even before the first tooth emerges, oral hygiene are absolutely necessary to prevent baby bottle tooth decay, also called as bottle rot.
What is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?
Even if they’re temporary, your baby’s milk teeth are vital, and are still prone to dental cavities.
Tooth decay in toddlers and infants is referred to as Early Childhood Caries or Baby Bottle Tooth Decay. It is important for children to have strong, healthy teeth to chew food, have a pleasant-looking smile and speak. The first teeth also help ensure that their adult teeth emerge correctly.
Starting infants off with proper oral care is important to help protect their teeth for many years to come.
It is never too early to begin your baby on healthy routine. Follow these tips to help you prevent baby bottle tooth decay.
Eliminate the Sugar
Infants can experience tooth decay, but it is often caused by exposure to the sugars present in juices and milk, making it easier for bacteria to grow and thrive. The longer the sugar stays on the mouth, the higher the risk for tooth decay.
The best ways to counter it is to avoid allowing the infant to nap or sleep with the bottle in his/her mouth and do not allow the child to walk around with it in the mouth. Offer healthier options by giving breast milk and formula and eliminating sugar drinks and artificial juices. Never share utensils or lick pacifiers as they can pass bacteria to your baby and may cause decay.
Sterilize the Bottle
Another important step to prevent bottle rot is to clean the bottle. Ensure the bottles you buy are free from BPA (Bisphenol A), a plastic chemical linked to developmental problems in kids. Sterilize these bottles properly before offering them to your child.
There are different ways to sterilize baby bottles. You can boil the bottles in water, use as electric bottle steamer to destroy the bacteria or microwave them through a steam sterilizer. Sterilize the baby bottles once a week to prevent build-up of bacteria.
Brush the Gums
Your baby’s teeth may not surface yet but the gums still demand special care. Early childhood tooth decay often appears in the lower and upper front teeth. Such teeth are essential for speaking and eating, so the earlier your child begins a dental health care routine, the lower the chances of baby bottle causing problems later on.
To clean the gums, use a clean gauze pad or wash cloth to wipe your baby’s gums after every feeding. Once the incisors emerges, you can start using an infant toothbrush and dab a fluoride toothpaste the size of a rice grain, as per American Dental Association.
There are lots of kid-friendly toothpaste in the market, with fun faces on the package. Of course, don’t forget to schedule your first pediatric dental visit to establish a routine. Your baby’s budding teeth are very important.