Baby bottle tooth decay

Baby bottle tooth decay is caused by the frequent and long-term exposure of a child's teeth to liquids containing sugars. Among these liquids are milk, formula milk, fruit juice, fizzy drinks, and other sweetened drinks. The sugars feed the bacteria on the teeth and cause decay.

To avoid this problem it is best to put only water in a baby bottle. If milk is used this should be drunk quickly. Never allow children to fall asleep with a bottle. A baby bottle should not be used as a pacifier. Children should be weaned from the bottle as soon as they can drink from a cup.

Where fruit juices are used it is advisable to dilute them with water as much as possible. Limit the amount of sugar a child consumes, especially between meals.

Cleaning of a childs teeth should be started as soon as teeth have erupted into the mouth. Teeth in very young children can be cleaned by wiping the teeth and gums after feedings with a damp washcloth or gauze pad to remove harmful bacteria that cause plaque and decay. In older infants, use a soft toothbrush with a pea-shaped amount of childrens fluoride toothpaste.

A child's first set of teeth is very important for the development of the adult teeth. Severely decayed teeth may need to be extracted. If teeth are infected or lost too early due to baby bottle tooth decay, a child may develop poor eating habits, speech problems, crooked teeth, and damaged adult teeth. Healthy baby teeth will usually result in healthy permanent teeth.

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Prevent and treat baby bottle tooth decay in West Sussex