Parents often wonder why their children have white or brown spots in their teeth. They are even more confused or sometimes even angry when a dentist mentions “Baby Bottle Decay” or “Early Childhood Caries”.
Children need healthy teeth to chew food, speak and have a good looking smile. Their first teeth also help make sure their adult teeth come in correctly. While children do get a new set of teeth when the childhood teeth fall off, it is important to instill a sense of good oral hygiene to help protect their teeth for decades to come.
What is Baby Bottle Decay
Baby bottle decay is the earliest form of childhood decay. It occurs because children are put to sleep with a bottle filled with milk, juice or other sugary drinks. If left unnoticed, it quickly spreads to adjacent teeth and also causes teeth to breakdown completely before we have an option to save them.
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How can I prevent it?
If you have a young child, my recommendation is the following:
- Stop nighttime nursing/milk bottle as soon as the child’s teeth begin to erupt.
- Do not add sugar to milk
- Make sure you brush/clean the child’s teeth prior to bedtime.
Tip : Use a fluoride free toothpaste for children under 2 since this is safer even if swallowed. A pea sized amount should suffice. For infants, you may use a clean damp cloth instead of a toothbrush.