Tooth decay is surprisingly common in babies and young children. It is very important that you look after your child’s teeth. Baby teeth may only stick around for a few years but they have an important job to do. If baby teeth are lost too early thanks to tooth decay, the remaining teeth may move around in the mouth and this can cause problems for the erupting adult teeth.Tooth decay can be painful and expensive to treat. Though it is treatable, it is much better to avoid tooth decay in the first place. Here are some tips to help you avoid baby bottle tooth decay:
- Don’t use a bottle at bedtime
Your formula fed baby probably still has a bottle before bed and that’s fine. It’s important, however, to make sure that your baby doesn’t fall asleep with the bottle. This can cause formula milk to pool in the mouth and the sugars in the milk can cause tooth decay. Make sure your baby drinks her milk while she’s still awake and remove the bottle before she starts to drift off.
- Stick to water
Your baby needs breast or formula milk to aid growth and development during the first year of life (and potentially longer for breastfed babies). What your baby doesn’t need is fruit juice, cordial and fizzy drinks. These drinks contain sugar which causes tooth decay. To greatly reduce the risk of tooth decay, avoid sugary drinks. Even ‘no added sugar’ drinks can cause tooth decay. It’s best to stick to water. You may not love the taste of water, but your baby doesn’t know any different and so will probably be more than happy to drink plain ol’ water.
- Teach good dental care
As soon as your baby’s teeth appear, it’s time to start brushing those teeth twice a day. Use a toothbrush designed for babies and be gentle when brushing your baby’s teeth. If your baby seems hesitant, brush your teeth too so she can see that it’s something you do as well.
- Use a cup
Experts recommend that your child should lose the sippy cup by her first birthday. By the age of one, your child should be drinking from an open cup. This is better for your child’s teeth than a sippy cup. It might mean the odd spillage, but your baby will soon learn how to wipe water up with a cloth.
- Eat healthy
Healthy habits start young. To reduce your child’s risk of developing tooth decay, encourage your child to eat a healthy diet. Limit the amount of sugar your child consumes during the day. And remember, not all sugar is in sweets, children consume lots of hidden sugars throughout the day. For example, did you know lots of breads, jars of baby foods and jars of pasta sauce contain sugar?
Written by Fiona (@Fiona_Peacock), mother, writer and lover of all things baby related.
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2016. All rights reserved.