Tips For Preventing Baby Bottle Decay

Posted on: 28 May 2015

If you have an infant child, then you have a variety of soothing methods up your sleeve to help you stop fussing and tantrums. If these methods include giving your child a bottle with milk or formula in the evening or at night, then your child is at risk of developing cavities at a very young age. This condition is called baby bottle decay and it can result in long-term oral problems. This occurs because the baby teeth help to hold a place in the mouth for the forming adult teeth underneath them. Cavities in the baby teeth disrupt the placeholders and they sometimes reach the adult teeth after eating away at the baby teeth.

Fortunately, you can easily stop decay as a parent, and a few good ideas are outlined here.

Provide Water

If your child has difficulties falling asleep in the evening, then he or she may benefit from a warm bottle of milk or formula at night. Not only is a bottle soothing, but it helps to reduce both hunger and thirst pains that are strong enough to keep an infant awake. Unfortunately, formula, breast milk, and milk all contain a great deal of sugar. It may not be listed on the package, but a single serving of formula can contain more than 13 grams of sugar.

This sugar clings to the teeth in the mouth and allows bacteria to become active. The active bacteria break down the sugars and release acids as byproducts. The acids are what break down the tooth enamel and cause cavities.

The easiest way to prevent infant cavities is to stop providing a bottle at bedtime. If your child has problems without it, then substitute water for the formula. Thirst will be quenched and your child will be able to self soothe by sucking on the nipple. Water can also help to reduce cavities. The fluid forces some of the bacteria away from the teeth and gums and helps to lower the pH of the mouth.

This is ideal so that acids cannot eat away at the teeth. Also, if your mouth remains acidic for too long, then bacteria will thrive that can live in acidic environments. These added bacteria can contribute to cavity formation along with the microorganisms that are already present in the mouth.

Use Fluoride for Dental Health

If you do decide to give your child water in the evening, then make sure to provide it from the tap. Bottled water does not contain fluoride like tap water does, and the mineral is necessary to remineralize or strengthen the dental enamel. If you have soft water or water with a great deal of chlorine, then your child may not like the taste. Only switch to bottled water if this is the case. If you decide to use it, then make sure to also use fluoride toothpaste.

Dentists used to ask parents to wait to use the paste until their children turned two. However, the American Dental Association now recommends the use of fluoride toothpaste as soon as the first teeth come in.

Start Brushing the Teeth

If you want to use toothpaste with fluoride, then you must make sure your child is not ingesting too much. A large amount of fluoride at an early age can cause fluorosis and the formation of white specs on the teeth. You can avoid this by using a dab of toothpaste about the size of a grain of rice before your son or daughter turns three. After this age mark, you can use about a pea sized amount of paste.

Use a piece of gauze, cheesecloth, or a finger-mounted infant toothbrush to spread the toothpaste across your child's mouth. Use a clean cotton cloth to remove the paste from the gums and tongue after the brushing is complete. Brush the mouth both in the morning and the evening. Continue here to read more.