You admire your baby, especially her adorable new little teeth. However, just as bacteria have always tried to wage war on your own teeth over the years, they will try to do the same on your baby’s teeth—no matter how adorable they are. This is why leaving a bottle with your baby overnight can be detrimental despite your good intentions for doing so: Baby bottles at night and tooth decay go hand-in-hand.
The problem is called “baby bottle tooth decay,” and it occurs when drinks that feature natural sugars remain on your infant’s teeth for long periods. These drinks include baby formula or even fruit juice. Bacteria in the baby’s mouth devour this sugar and then produce acids that attack her pearly whites.
Your pediatric dentist will warn you against dipping the baby’s pacifier in sweet treats, such as syrup or sugar—especially at night. Her teeth are most vulnerable to bacterial attack at this time because when she sleeps, her saliva flow decreases. The saliva flow is essential in washing away bacteria that can eat away at the teeth.
Baby bottle tooth decay happens most frequently in the upper front teeth, but it can affect any tooth. You may think that losing a baby tooth won’t necessarily harm your baby because the tooth is temporary anyway; however, if tooth decay is not treated by a pediatric dentist, the teeth may become infected and cause discomfort for your baby. A prematurely lost baby tooth may also result in adult teeth that are damaged or crooked.
Limit your infant’s intake of sweets during the day, and clean her gums using a washcloth after feedings. When her baby teeth begin to emerge, follow your dentist’s recommendations for maintaining good oral hygiene. Also, be sure that she gets enough fluoride, which likely is present in your local water supply; your pediatric dentist can help with this, too.
To find out more about how you can prevent your baby’s teeth from cavities,call our experienced and friendly dental team today.