Prevent Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Baby bottle tooth decay is caused by giving your baby a bottle of milk or juice, or even a soother dipped in honey or sugar at bedtime. Caring for your baby’s teeth and mouth should begin immediately after birth. Baby bottle tooth decay is as serious as other childhood infectious diseases. If it progresses, your child can have intense pain or may develop dental abscesses. Severe decay in baby teeth can have serious consequences for your child’s speech and jaw development. However, this is an easily preventable dental disease. Here’s what you can do:
- After each feeding or nursing, wipe your baby’s gum pads with a clean damp cloth to remove any remaining mild residue. Make sure that you wipe off or brush residue and plaque of the teeth inside and out after each feeding.
- Be aware of your child’s dental health while breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is important for child development, but allowing your baby to fall asleep while nursing may have the same effect as putting a child to bed with a bottle. Take measures to prevent tooth decay during breastfeeding.
- If you have to put the child down for rest and he or she needs a bottle, don’t give a bottle of milk, juice or carbonated beverage, nor a soother dipped in honey or syrup of water and sugar. Use only plain water.
- When your child’s teeth come in, brush them gently with a soft infant toothbrush. It is very important to clean your baby’s teeth before bedtime!
- Teach your child how to drink from a cup at around six months of age. Wean them off the bottle by age 12 to 14 months.
- Children need a wide variety of foods and snacks. Give them foods and drinks that are low in sugar. Avoid giving your children sweet biscuits or cakes as treats.
- Feed your child ‘Tooth-friendly foods’, foods that are low in sugar, promote chewing and get your child’s saliva going. Some good examples of tooth-friendly foods include cheese and chopped vegetables such as carrot and celery.
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