Your child’s bottle habits affect their oral health. As such, Dr. Kim may detect cavities in the upper front teeth if you frequently use a bottle to soothe your baby or help them fall asleep. These habits, along with frequent night feedings, can contribute to a condition called “baby bottle tooth decay.”
Here’s what else you need to know.
Dental plaque is an invisible film of bacteria that lives inside your child’s mouth. After your child drinks formula or breast milk, the bacteria eat any sugar left behind. It then converts this sugar into an acid that erodes enamel and attacks the gums. This results in cavities and other oral health issues.
Over time, plaque buildup can harden into tartar. While you can remove plaque at home by brushing and flossing your child’s teeth, only a dental professional will be able to remove tartar.
We recommend that your child see our pediatric dentist within 6 months of getting their first tooth or by their first birthday. After your child’s first visit, they’ll need to see Dr. Kim for routine cleanings and exams at least every 6 months.
One of the best ways to prevent tooth decay is to never put your child to bed with a baby bottle. Also, never put anything in their bottle that isn’t formula or breast milk. Certain beverages (like fruit juice) are packed with sugar and can contribute to dental plaque buildup.
You should also be taking care of your child’s teeth and gums on a daily basis. If your child doesn’t have any teeth, use a soft cloth to gently wipe down their gums once a day. This will help reduce the amount of bacteria on their gums.
Once your child gets their first tooth, start brushing twice a day with a tiny smear of fluoride toothpaste that’s no bigger than a rice grain. You should also start flossing once your child has two teeth that touch. Typically, the bottom two front teeth are the first to erupt.
To learn more, be sure to check out our blog post on oral hygiene tips for your baby. Dr. Kim would also be more than happy to answer any questions you may have about your baby’s dental health.
It’s a misconception that your child’s baby teeth aren’t important. The truth is that they play a major role in your child’s oral development and long-term health. Baby teeth hold space in the jaw for permanent teeth. They also help your child eat and speak.
Childhood is an excellent time to start teaching your son or daughter good oral hygiene habits that they’ll be able to carry with them for the rest of their life. This helps pave the way for a healthy smile well into the future.
Dr. Wanki William Kim is an experienced pediatric dentist in Grand Rapids, MI. As such, he’ll be able to help you take the best care of your child’s teeth and gums so you can avoid baby bottle tooth decay.
To request an appointment, please call the Pediatric Dentistry of Michigan at (616) 447-7900. You may also fill out our online contact form and someone from our dental practice will reach out to you soon.