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Baby Bottle Tooth Decay: When Babies Develop Cavities

June 3, 2024

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dr. Michael Royse @ 12:24 am
Baby bottle and pacifier sitting on counter

Did you know that babies can develop cavities?

“But don’t cavities come from eating too much sugar?”

Yes, exactly! Your child might be more exposed to excessive doses of sugar than you think. They can even start to have problems before they have access to classic examples like chocolate and certain cereals. Don’t worry though. There are simple tips that can help you prevent this from happening. Keep reading to learn how to keep your little one safe from tooth decay.

What is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay and Why is It Called That?

The most common way for babies to develop cavities is through their baby bottles – hence the name. You see, formula, juice, and basically any beverage that isn’t water contains sugar. As your baby sucks on the bottle, the sugars from their drink pool around their teeth and gums.

When they take a reasonable sip, this isn’t as much of an issue, because their saliva can help them wash out sugar. But if they feed for longer periods of time, they’re also exposed to more sugar for longer. It will build and build up on their teeth, making it increasingly difficult for saliva alone to rinse it out. When it’s left to sit, sugar becomes fuel for cavity-causing bacteria.

How to Control Your Baby’s Sugar Exposure

Logically, limiting your baby’s contact with their bottle will reduce the risk of baby bottle tooth decay. However, there are other ways sugar can collect on their teeth. Let’s narrow your solutions down to a few simple tips:

  • Don’t put your baby to bed when their bottle contains sugary liquids
  • After bottle feeding, gently clean your baby’s teeth and gums with a wet cloth
  • Don’t coat their pacifier in honey or other sweets
  • As soon as they grow their first tooth, start brushing
  • Try to transition your child from bottles to cups as soon as possible
  • Take your child to the dentist after they turn one

It could also be helpful to encourage good oral hygiene habits. As kids get older, it can become harder to reinforce thorough brushing and flossing. But dirty teeth can result in bacteria build up and tooth decay at any age! As you begin cleaning your baby’s first tooth, try to make dental upkeep a positive experience. Making an enjoyable routine out of it can prevent brushing from seeming like an obnoxious chore later.

You’re not on your own with your baby’s oral health, either. Your dentist can help you come up with personalized strategies for avoiding uncomfortable dental complications. Of course, they’ll also lend their professional eye and watch for early signs of cavities when you and your baby visit for checkups. Stopping by their office biannually for checkups and cleanings dramatically reduces the risk of tooth decay for all patients!

About the Practice

Our board-certified pediatric dentists are ready to help you and your child at The Dentists at Orenco for Kids. Drs. Andrea Beltzner and Michael C. Royse know that kids and oral health don’t always mix. They’ll make sure your little one’s visits are encouraging and fun so that routine dental cleaning doesn’t feel like a chore. Of course, they’ll also thoroughly examine your child’s teeth, and professionally remove any sneaky bacteria. For help keeping tooth decay at bay, just call 503-640-6565.

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