We’ve all been there. After a long day with a baby who is fighting bedtime, it is much easier to just let your baby take a bottle to bed to soothe them to sleep. If you are guilty of this on a routine basis, you’ll be facing much bigger problems than a fussy baby at bedtime. Baby bottle tooth decay is a real dental term that refers to a form of tooth decay that is caused by constant sucking on a baby bottle. This also applies to children or babies who are allowed to sip on a baby bottle throughout the day without interruption. Baby bottle tooth decay does not, of course, apply to drinking water, but juices and even formula do cause this type of decay. Parents need to better understand just what is happening inside their little one’s mouth so that using baby bottle doesn’t lead to tooth decay or early cavities.
If you slip up and allow your baby or toddler to take a bottle to bed once or twice, there is probably no harm done. However, if it becomes a habit, you have an open invitation for cavities on your hands. When a baby’s teeth are frequently exposed to liquids other than water for prolonged periods of time, the sugars and carbohydrates deliver an unending source of food for the bacteria that cause cavities. Sugary liquids such as sweetened water, fruit juices and even baby formula, pool around the teeth during the night. Bacteria in the mouth use these sugars as food to then produce acids that will attack the teeth. Each time your child drinks these liquids, acids attack for 20 minutes or longer. Therefore, if you are subjecting your baby to multiple acid attacks every night, tooth decay sets in.
As parents, you have a responsibility to keep your child as healthy as possible, this includes initiating good oral care at every stage. When it comes to their dental health, drinking water is the best and safest beverage of choice. However, you can still take the necessary steps after allowing those sweeter drinks or giving your baby a bottle of formula. Be sure to brush your child’s teeth before bed or rinse with water after daytime juice.
If your baby does not have teeth yet, you are not exempt from the risk of baby bottle tooth decay. You still need to wipe down your baby’s gums with a soft, wet washcloth to ensure there are no bacteria lingering in your child’s mouth overnight. Group Health Dental proudly educates parents of babies and young children on the proper ways to prevent cavities. Before you hand that bottle over the crib, remember the harmful consequences you may be giving to your child’s fresh, innocent smile.