Baby Bottle Decay (Early childhood caries)
We’ve noticed that quite a few of our patients coming in are bringing in cute little babies too! Let’s take a look at some of the dangers baby bottle decay (aka early childhood caries) can create.
We quite frequently get asked ‘is there anything I need to worry about with newborns’ teeth?’
The one issue that newborns’ parents need to keep in mind is baby bottle decay (Early childhood caries). This commonly occurs in the top front teeth and can also affect others and starts when baby’s teeth are exposed for a long time to sugar – allowing bacteria to metabolise the sugar and cause decay.
The two things we can control then are – the bacteria in bub’s mouth and bub’s exposure to sugar. The bacteria is in all adults but not in young babies. Babies will inevitably get introduced to the bacteria but lessening the load can reduce the risk of decay. For that reason it’s best to try to not share eating utensil like spoons with bub for the first few months.
Reducing sugar is also the other way to lessen the risk of decay. This includes avoiding putting sweet drinks like juices into bottles and avoiding using bottles as a pacifier. Both of these aspects lead to bubs having long term exposure to sugars on teeth and together with the metabolising bacteria can cause decay in bub’s teeth.
A few tips to keep in mind when caring for bub:
- Try not to share utensils like spoons and licking dummies.
- After a feed, wipe your bub’s gums with damp gauze or washcloth
- Remember to brush bub’s teeth when they first come in, and regularly every day after to enforce good habits with a non-fluoridated toothpaste.
- Avoid filling bottles with juice – stick with breast milk, formula or water
- Although hard to control, try to finish a feed and wipe over the mouth before putting bub to bed.
- Don’t dip dummies into sugar or honey
A good time to bring bub into the dentist is when the first teeth start appearing so we can run through with you how to look after and clean bub’s teeth!