Baby bottle caries is a form of decay that attacks the primary teeth (baby teeth) and leads to their loss. The appearance of this type of decay is fast, aggressive and spreads quickly.
It can occur early, as soon as when the first tooth appears and until they are shed and replaced by permanent teeth. Because they are the child’s first teeth and because the permanent teeth will only appear much later (the baby teeth are present between 5 and 10 years old, depending on the type (molars, canines, incisors), it is important to take good care of it!
The loss of baby teeth caused by baby bottle decay can lead to various problems such as nutritional and phonetic issues. The aesthetic factor is also important. A child with a beautiful smile attracts attention. A child suffering from baby bottle tooth decay attracts attention too but not for the same reasons and it can become unpleasant for both parents and children.
How can I avoid this?
- As parents, we must teach our children as soon as possible to take good care of their teeth, whether at home or at the dentist’s office. Let them discover teeth care through play, they will find it much more fun!
- A child should never fall asleep with a milk bottle. The milk will leave a thin film on his teeth and it will promote the development of bacteria and cause decay.
- Apart from milk and water, your child should not drink juice or other drinks in a bottle. After he drank his milk in a bottle, clean his mouth and gums with a wet washcloth or a soft and small toothbrush. You can do the same when you give him medication or sugary syrups (liquid acetaminophen, liquid ibuprofen, antibiotics, etc.).
- Do not dip the pacifier in honey, sugar or any other sweet food.
- According to the Université de Montréal Faculty of Dentistry, the weaning of a child should begin around twelve months old to slowly make the transition to the cup. Once his coordination is well established, the bottle should disappear completely, around 15 months old. The prolonged use of the bottle doesn’t only promote tooth decay; it can also lead to deformities that will require oral treatment later.
Be aware of any change in color or texture of your child’s teeth. By closely monitoring his teeth, you could contribute to detect abnormalities quickly and thereby limit the damage it could cause. If you think that something unusual is going on in your child’s mouth, contact a trusted dentist who will help and reassure you.