How to care for your baby’s first teeth.
A PARENT’S GUIDE TO
From infants to 2 years of age. This uniquely special time calls for uniquely special dental instructions.
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Recognizing baby bottle tooth decay.
What is baby bottle tooth decay and what are the signs?
As the name suggests, baby bottle tooth decay is a tooth decay issue stemming from too much bottle usage. It can severely impact the future growth of your child’s adult teeth and in worst-case scenarios the affected teeth may need to be extracted.
Before going over the signs and symptoms of baby bottle tooth decay it’s important to note that regular dental checkups are the best way to find and treat your child’s oral health problems.
It may be a tall order to find signs of baby bottle tooth decay since obvious visual cues aren’t always apparent.
However, some of the early signs include:
White, yellow, or brown spots on the teeth
Tooth or gum pain from a source that is not teething or a new tooth
Preventing baby bottle tooth decay.
What causes baby bottle tooth decay?
It’s rather simple. When babies have a bottle of sugary drink in their mouth for a prolonged period of time they can begin to develop tooth decay. Both formula and breast milk are sugary substances, as are most drinks that aren’t water.
According to the CDC nearly 2 in 5 children experience baby bottle tooth decay. It occurs most commonly when a child falls asleep with a bottle in their mouth, which is quite normal. It’s important however to make sure that the bottle doesn’t remain once the baby is asleep.
Below you will find some tips that can help prevent baby bottle tooth decay at each stage of your child’s development.
Tips for new parents.
From birth to 6 months
Use a damp, clean washcloth to wipe off of your child’s gums after each feeding
Then, from 6 to 12 months
Be sure to schedule your first dental appointment
Don’t let your child fall asleep with a bottle in their mouth
Try brushing your child’s teeth after each feeding with a soft child's toothbrush and flossing them before bedtime
And, from 12 to 36 months
Regular dental appointment should continue every 6 months
Start flossing as soon as teeth touch, paying close attention to back teeth touching
Use a rice sized portion of toothpaste with fluoride
If after 36 months your child is able to spit on their own, use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste
From birth to 24 months old. Keep these in mind.