Protect Your Baby’s Precious Smile
Milk, Formula, Fruit Juice....nourishing liquids for your baby, but each contains sugar and can cause decay in your infant’s teeth. Doctors call this condition Baby Bottle Tooth Decay or Early Childhood Caries. Of course, it’s important that your baby have these liquids, but it’s WHEN you give your baby these foods that can make a difference in the health of your child’s teeth.
What Causes Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?
∙ When germs that normally live in the mouth are exposed to sugar, they make an acid that eats away the enamel of the teeth, causing decay.
∙ Frequent, prolonged exposure of a child’s teeth to milk, formula, fruit juice or any other sweetened liquids.
∙ Giving a baby a pacifier dipped in honey or syrup
∙ Be vigilant about foods served. Limit sugar-laden foods and drinks.
Why is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay Bad for Children?
∙ It can cause painful toothaches.
∙ It can result in feeding and nutritional problems.
∙ In some cases, it may lead to middle ear infections.
∙ It can destroy baby teeth critical speech and the development and alignment of the permanent teeth.
Your infant is relying on you to establish healthy dental care routines. Schedule a dental visit by his or her first birthday. Be vigilant about foods served - limit sugar-laden foods and drinks.
How Can Baby Bottle Tooth Decay be Prevented?
∙ Don’t put your baby to bed with a bottle filled with milk, formula or fruit juice. (Mothers who are breast feeding are reminded that a baby is also at risk for decay when the baby nurses continuously during naps or at night.)
∙ If your must use a bottle at nap or bedtime, fill it only with water.
∙ Don’t offer your baby a pacifier dipped in anything sweet.
∙ Wean your baby from the bottle sooner than later. Start to offer a cup at 6 months of age and wean your child from the bottle by about 1 year of age.
∙ Don’t let your child walk around with a bottle. Always hold your baby when bottle feeding and remove the bottle when the baby falls asleep.
∙ After regular feedings and snack time, wipe your child’s teeth and gums with a damp wash cloth. You can begin brushing your baby’s teeth with a small toothbrush as soon as the first tooth appears.
To Bed Without a Bottle...With some Babies, it’s Easier Said Than Done.
∙ Establish a regular routine at each nap and bedtime.
∙ Offer your child a security blanket, suitable stuffed animal or pacifier (not dipped in anything sweet).
∙ Sing or play music.
∙ Hold or rock your baby to sleep.
∙ Rub or pat your child’s head and back.
∙ Use an infant swing to rock your baby to sleep.
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