Healthy dental hygiene practices should be applied throughout your child's life to ensure proper tooth development and a lifetime of clean, cavity-free teeth. These practices include a healthy diet, avoiding high sugar foods and drinks, consistent, quality brushing and flossing, and regular check ups with your trusted Holly Springs dentist. However, the path to a healthy, beautiful smile begins with ensuring baby teeth are protected. All parents should make their babies' dental hygiene a top priority in order to avoid any chance of developing baby bottle decay.

A lot of parents may not be familiar with the phrase Baby Bottle Tooth Decay or Nursing Bottle Syndrome. Baby Bottle Tooth Decay is the result of prolonged exposure to sugars, which when combined with bacteria in your mouth, creates acid. This acid will corrode the enamel of the tooth. Regardless of your child's age, tooth decay is not something you should ignore. The common misconception is that baby teeth will fall out and be replaced by adult teeth; therefore, these dental caries do not need the same attention as permanent teeth. This could not be farther from the truth. These cavities can cause your child a good deal of discomfort, make it difficult for them to eat, and could lead to damaged or misplaced adult teeth. Some of the primary (baby) teeth are not replaced until 12 or 13 years of age.

The best way to avoid Baby Bottle Tooth Decay is to engage in healthy preventive routines with your child. Since exposure to sugar speeds up the process of corrosion, try to limit your child's drinking sugared beverages from a bottle. Infants should finish any bottles of formula prior to naps so that the bottle's contents aren't sitting on your child's teeth any longer than necessary. Ideally, children should not be using bottles after about 12 months old. Bottles should also not be substituted for pacifiers, and if this is necessary it is recommended to fill the bottle with water, instead of formula or a drink that contains sugar. Even juice contains enough sugar to cause these dental caries. Also breast feeding can harm the primary incisors if nursing continues after the teeth erupt.

Prior to the first tooth, take a washcloth or some gauze and clean the gingave (gums) of your infant child. This will also help get the child used to having their mouth cleaned. After the first tooth erupts, a child's toothbrush should be used to wash the tooth. Initially, it is okay to only use water. Parents should start using toothpaste as soon as the child is capable of spitting the toothpaste out; the exact age varies between children. Parents should monitor brushing and assist until they are comfortable that the child has enough manual dexterity to do adequate brushing on their own.

This type of tooth decay usually starts forming on the back of your child's front two teeth. This can make it difficult to recognize at first. It is important to call and make an appointment if any discoloration is noticed. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry concludes that a child's first dental appointment should occur before their first birthday.

For questions or concerns about your child's newly forming teeth, please contact our Pediatric Dentist at Twin Leaf Dentistry and we would be happy to speak with you further!