Baby bottle tooth decay frequently occurs in infants and children, mostly in the upper front teeth, but it may also impact other teeth. In some children, continued milk bottle use may result in cavity formation and baby teeth loss early which is referred to as baby bottle tooth decay (BBTD). Fortunately, the tooth can still be protected if the problem is identified early on.
Early Signs Indicating Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Sometimes tooth decay may develop as soon as the baby’s first tooth appears and may go undetected. Some of the early signs of tooth decay include:
- Spots (Brown or white) along the gum line
- Cavities on the teeth
- Painful toothaches
- Swollen or bleeding gums
- Fever due to gum or tooth infection
What Causes Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?
The primary reasons for baby bottle tooth decay include:
- Prolonged exposure to sugary fluids such as milk, formula, fruit juice, and more from a bottle.
- The incidence and period of exposure to the sugars in these foods also significantly contribute to the growth of this disease.
- The mouth bacteria produce acids which strike the tooth enamel and ultimately destroy the tooth.
Does Decay in Baby Teeth Affect Adult Teeth?
The child’s baby teeth are required to be healthy because if these teeth decay and are lost too early, the following problems may occur later on:
- The tooth adjacent to the decayed tooth may shift into the vacant space.
- This will cause the upcoming adult tooth to grow crooked or crowded
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay Treatment
Baby bottle tooth treatment options will depend on the severity of your child’s condition. Discuss the best treatment possible for your child with your dentist at the initial signs of tooth decay.
- In the early phases of decay, the teeth surface may be re-mineralized using fluoride treatment and altering the child’s diet.
- If decay is evident, filling matter or stainless steel crowns can be applied to cover the teeth.
- If the decay has stretched to the pulp chamber, suitable treatment such as pulp therapy may be considered.
While there are treatments present, the ultimate defense for babies against tooth decay is preventive measures.
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How to Prevent Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
You can follow these key steps to help prevent baby bottle tooth decay:
- Clean your baby’s teeth following a bottle.
- During the night, fill water in your baby’s bottle or use a pacifier instead.
- Schedule your baby’s first dental checkup with the onset of their first tooth and repeat every six months to safeguard your child’s oral health.
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