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How to Prevent Early Childhood Tooth Decay

You may have heard it referred to as baby bottle decay or baby bottle rot. Early childhood tooth decay occurs when sweetened (as well as those that are naturally sweet) liquids are left to coat the developing teeth of an infant or young toddler. Some children are more prone, genetically, to teeth troubles, but that risk increases when a child is given a bottle of milk or formula as a comfort item to sleep.

Baby teeth are replaceable, or so you might think. Just because he’ll lose those in favor of gaining another set doesn’t mean care of his baby teeth should be neglected. Early childhood tooth decay of this sort often happens in the front teeth and he needs them: to chew, to smile, to speak. Take care of them.

Is breastfeeding linked to early childhood tooth decay?

This is a question we hear quite frequently actually. Breastfeeding at bedtime or through the night: couldn’t this have the same effect as allowing baby to suck on a bottle of formula while he sleeps? The answer is no. No analysis has proven a link between nighttime breastfeeding and tooth decay. Of course, breastfeed babies can still get cavities, so proper oral hygiene is important.

You can prevent early childhood tooth decay.

  • If your baby is accustomed to going down for a nap or at bedtime with a bottle, give him only water during these times, and never milk or formula.
  • Take special care to clean your baby’s gums with a soft washcloth after each meal. Likewise, as his teeth begin to appear, get in the habit of brushing at night with a soft-bristled toothbrush.
  • Avoid mixing your own saliva with the baby’s. Don’t clean his pacifier with your mouth or share spoons, as doing so could introduce harmful, decay-causing bacteria.
  • Check with your local or municipal water supply to ensure your drinking water is fluoridated, and if it’s not ask your Gainesville pediatric dentist if supplementation is necessary.
  • Be prompt. Schedule your baby’s first appointment and check up with Smilez Pediatric Dental Group Gainesville six months after the eruption of his first tooth, or no later than his first birthday.

Damaged adult teeth, spacing issues, poor eating habits, speech delays: These are only a few of the potential side effects of early childhood tooth decay — not to mention the pain and embarrassment that come along with decayed, damaged or missing teeth. Do it for him. Do what you can to prevent early childhood tooth decay.