Baby Bottle Tooth Decay (also referred to as BBTD) is tooth decay found in infants. This type of decay is severe and may result in tooth lose at a young age. Two common causes for this condition are an excess sugars on the teeth from using a bottle or sippy cup at bedtime or regularly throughout the day and spreading bacteria by sharing feeding spoons with an adult. BBTD causes tooth decay soon after the teeth are present, however, you may not notice any symptoms until the child is closer to one-year-old.
The first noticeable symptoms of Baby Bottle Tooth Decay are small, white spots on the surface of the teeth at about one year of age. Spots are more noticeable on the large upper front teeth, known as the incisors. The white spots eventually turn into brown decay that destroy the teeth.
You can help prevent tooth decay by refraining from giving a bottle to your infant at bed time. Start the habit of giving the last nightly bottle when the infant is still awake. Begin this habit before the teeth begin to appear at around six months of age. Start cup training at about six months of age so all sugar drinks are given only at meals. This also helps break the bottle habit. Fill a bottle or sippy cup with water if the infant is dependent on a bottle and demands one at night or throughout the day. Water is not as tasty as other drinks and the infant will eventually stop demanding a bedtime bottle.
Also, avoid sharing spoons with an infant, or putting the pacifier in your mouth before giving it to the child to prevent the spread of plaque and bacteria. Infants without teeth benefit from having their gums and mouth wiped with a damp washcloth to remove plaque or bacteria. Begin brushing teeth as soon as they appear with a soft toothbrush and water only. Gradually add a pea-sized amount of child’s toothpaste when the child can spit.
It may seem strange, but it is best to schedule your infants first dental check-up when their first tooth appears and one every six months thereafter. This will allow us to begin building a relationship with your child and look for any potential problems. Starting early is the key to a lifetime of good dental health.
Please call our office if you have any questions or concerns. (417) 777-8654