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Phone: 989-773-3560

900 E Bellows St, Mt Pleasant, MI 48858


 

In past blogs on Dr. Egger’s site we’ve discussed lots of stuff about kids and their teeth. Sealants, fluoride, baby teeth, thumb sucking, and other topics have been all about our younger patients.

But in this end of November blog, let’s talk about just what that bottle in the crib is potentially doing to your baby’s teeth.

What is baby bottle tooth decay?

OK, you’ve had a long day and you just want some peace and quiet. So, you put your baby in his or her crib along with their bottle full of formula. Not a good idea; this could lead to baby bottle tooth decay.

Baby bottle tooth decay is caused by the frequent and long-term exposure of a child’s teeth to liquids containing sugars. Among these liquids are milk, formula, fruit juice, sodas, and other sweetened drinks. The sugars in these liquids pool around the infant’s teeth and gums. This is a tasty treat for all of the bacteria that are found in dental plaque. When the bacteria eat the sugars they create acids that then attack the enamel of the teeth and the gum tissue. These sweet fluids left in the mouth while the infant is sleeping dramatically increase the chances of developing cavities.

What’s the big deal?

The problem with giving an infant a bottle filled with formula or juice at nap or nighttime is that during sleep the flow of saliva in the mouth decreases. This allows the sugary liquids to cover the child’s teeth for an extended period of time.

Once a tooth develops decay, if left unaddressed this can cause serious pain for the child and possible infection. If the tooth becomes seriously decayed it may need to be extracted. The missing tooth can then lead to misalignment of teeth coming in subsequently, including permanent teeth.

Children usually get their first tooth around six months of age, but sometimes as early as three months.

How can I prevent tooth decay like this?

First off, don’t put a bottle in the crib with your infant. Second, clean and massage the baby’s gums to help establish healthy teeth and to aid in teething. Wrap a moistened gauze square or washcloth around your finger and gently massage the gums and gingival tissue. This should be done after every feeding.

And then schedule your first appointment for your child with Dr. Egger somewhere between 6 and 12 months.

Have any questions about your child’s teeth, or do you need to make an appointment? Call Dr. Egger at (989) 773-3560.