Even though they are temporary, your child’s first teeth are very important! Your child’s first teeth are not only helpful for chewing food, they also help make sure their adult teeth erupt properly. It’s important to start infants off with good oral care to help protect their teeth for a lifetime!
What’s the Cause?
The most common cause is from frequent exposure to drinks that contain sugar, this includes when the baby is put to bed with a bottle. It can also be caused by introduction of cavity-causing bacteria that is passed from the mother and/or father (or other primary caregiver) to the child via saliva. Bacteria can be passed by sharing spoons or even when the mother cleans the pacifier with her mouth.
Preventing Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
- Try not to share saliva with the baby. Also, after each feeding, wipe your child’s gums with a clean, damp cloth.
- Until the age of 3, brush the child’s teeth gently with a child-size toothbrush and a “rice grain” size of fluoride toothpaste.
- From age 3-6, brush the teeth with a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.
- Even though children want to become more independent as they get older, it is important to supervise brushing until your child is able to spit and not swallow.
- Place only formula, milk or breast milk in bottles. Avoid filling the bottle with liquids such as sugar water, juice or soft drinks.
- Babies should finish their bottles before going to bed.
- If your child uses a pacifier, provide one that is clean.