Keep Your Baby Cavity Free: Avoid Sugary Drinks at Bedtime
Baby bottle rot is nothing new. For years dentists have stressed the importance of removing sugary drinks from sippy cups and bottles at bedtime. While it may sooth your baby temporarily, the damage done to their vulnerable teeth can hurt them for a lifetime. The decay occurs when sweet liquids (milk, formula, fruit juice) cling to a baby’s teeth over a long period of time. The bacteria in a baby’s mouth consume the sugar and produce acids that attack the teeth. It’s especially harmful to give infants a sugary drink at naptime or night because the flow of saliva decreases. Tooth decay can harm new baby teeth, which are necessary for a child’s ability to eat, speak and smile. If left untreated, baby bottle tooth decay can lead to pain, infection and the possible removal of decayed baby teeth. And the new permanent teeth could be damaged or crooked. The good news? You can prevent baby bottle tooth decay. Here’s how: • Wipe your baby’s gums with a clean gauze pad or washcloth after each feeding. • Start brushing your child’s teeth when the first tooth comes in. • Clean and massage gums in areas without teeth. • Floss when two teeth touch. • Give plain water to your baby at naptime or at night. • Check to see if you have fluoride in your drinking water. Fluoride has been proven to combat tooth decay. • Have your child see a dentist by their first birthday.With a little due diligence, we can help save the smiles of all the children in Arkansas.