Baby Bottle Tooth Decay: What You Need To Know

Your baby's teeth are crucial to his or her overall oral health as well as bone development. Your child's teeth will help to shape his or her face and aid in chewing, eating, and speaking. As a parent, you play a huge role in your child's dental care.

Baby tooth decay is something that is more prevalent than you may imagine, but it is completely preventable with proper care and visits to the dentist. Read on to learn more.

What Exactly Causes Tooth Decay in Babies?

Though there can be many things that can contribute to tooth decay in babies, the most common factor is extended exposure to formula, breast milk, or sugary liquids. When a baby sleeps with a bottle that is filled with formula, juice, or a sugary beverage, it increases the overall risk of baby bottle tooth decay. When you are asleep, saliva production is decreased. Bacteria, which is always present in the mouth, turns any sugar in the mouth into acids, which then eats away at the enamel on the teeth.

Indications of Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

More often than not, you will notice signs of tooth decay from a baby bottle on the front upper and lower main teeth, although tooth decay can occur on other teeth as well. You may notice the following signs:

  • White or brown spots near the gumline
  • Swollen gums
  • Minor bleeding
  • Bad breath
  • Fever

Is There Treatment for Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?

The treatment for tooth decay related to baby bottles will vary based on your child's individual condition. Therefore, it is important that you consult with your dentist at the earliest signs of decay. Early on, a fluoride treatment may be able to be applied to the tooth's surface and be enough to treat the problem. If it remains untreated, the only option will be to crown the teeth.

Ideally, the best thing you can do is to prevent decay from occurring in the first place. You can do this by taking the following steps:

  • Thoroughly clean your baby's teeth after each feeding
  • Fill your baby's bottle with water at night instead of formula or juice
  • Schedule a dental check-up as soon as your baby's first tooth comes in, and then schedule appointments every six months thereafter.

If you are worried that your baby may have baby bottle tooth decay, schedule an appointment immediately with a family dentistry clinic for an examination.