Baby Teeth Decay

Kids Dentist Pasadena Texas

Why is Treating Tooth Decay in Baby Teeth Important?

It’s an unfortunate misconception that baby tooth decay isn’t a big deal. “I don’t need to worry about baby teeth decay, they are just going to fall out.”  Decay in baby teeth, when left untreated, can have serious consequences:

Baby teeth are space savers – They hold space while the upper and lower jaw grow and ensure that the adult teeth have adequate space to erupt properly and in correct alignment with each other. If baby teeth are allowed to decay and are lost too quickly, other baby teeth can shift into the now empty space. This results in the impaction and misalignment of the adult teeth underneath. Plus, this can translate into overly complicated orthodontic treatment to correct problems that would not have been needed if the baby teeth were not lost prematurely.

Infection and pain – untreated decay will progress to the nerve. There the bacteria will cause an infection inside the tooth and cause an abscess. This is very painful for your child and results in complicated dental treatment to fix!

Malformed permanent teeth – decay and infection, as described above, does not stop at baby teeth. Unchecked baby teeth decay can have a direct impact on the developing adult teeth underneath. This can result in malformed or stained permanent teeth.

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Another huge concern is what this early baby teeth decay can imply. The leading cause of decay is poor oral hygiene at home. Parents need to supervise and carefully watch their children brush and floss. Dr. Nugent still brushes his six year old daughter’s teeth three times a day.   Cavities arise from an excessive sugar intake, poor brushing, lack of flossing and inadequate dental hygiene. These negative habits can follow your child into adulthood and lead to recurring and lifelong issues with their adult teeth.

Kids Dentist Pasadena Texas


How does infant bottle tooth decay occur?

The term “baby bottle tooth decay” alludes to infant and toddler caries (cavities). Baby bottle tooth erosion can affect any or all teeth, although it is most prevalent in the upper front teeth.

If infant bottle tooth decay becomes too severe, it may be impossible for the pediatric dentist to save the affected tooth. In such situations, the damaged tooth is extracted, and a space maintainer is placed to prevent the misalignment of the remaining teeth.

Baby bottle tooth decay can be completely prevented by scheduling routine visits to a your dentist and instituting a good homecare routine.

What causes infant bottle tooth decay?

In the oral cavity, acid-producing bacteria induce tooth decay. Initially, these microbes may be transmitted through the saliva of the mother or father to the infant. Every time a parent shares a spoon with an infant or attempts to clean a pacifier with their mouth, the baby’s mouth is contaminated with parental bacteria.

However, frequent exposure to sweetened liquids is the most significant cause of infant bottle tooth decay. These liquids include breast milk, infant formula, juice, and sweetened water – essentially any liquid a parent would use to fill a baby bottle.

When used as a naptime or bedtime beverage, sweetened liquids pose an increased risk because they persist in the mouth for an extended period of time. Oral bacteria thrive on the sugar surrounding the teeth and produce acid. These acids erode tooth enamel, causing painful cavities and dental decay in children.

How can I prevent infant bottle tooth decay at home?

A committed parent can entirely prevent baby bottle tooth decay. Making regular dental appointments and following the guidelines below will keep each child’s smile bright, attractive, and free of decay:

  • Avoid transmitting pathogens to your child through saliva exchange. Rinse pacifiers and other objects with clean water, and use a clean spoon for every individual.
  • After each feeding, wipe the gums with a clean handkerchief.
  • Use an appropriate toothbrush and ADA-approved toothpaste to cleanse your teeth when they first appear. Children younger than two years old should use toothpaste without fluoride.
  • When the child has acquired the skill of “spitting out” excess toothpaste, use a pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste approved by the ADA. Although fluoride is essential for healthy teeth, excessive consumption can result in fluorosis.
  • Avoid placing sugary beverages in infant bottles and sippy cups. These containers should only be filled with water, breast milk, or formula. When the infant reaches twelve months old, encourage him or her to use a regular cup instead of a sippy cup.
  • Do not dunk pacifiers in sugary liquids such as honey.
  • Examine your child’s dietary patterns. Eliminate sugary snacks and promote a nutritious, wholesome diet.
  • Do not permit the child to bring a container containing liquid to bed. If the infant insists, instead of a sugary alternative, fill the bottle with water.
  • Maintain your child’s oral hygiene until the age of seven. Prior to this age, children are frequently unable to access certain areas of the mandible.

Parents are responsible for their children’s dental health. Limit sugar intake and spend the extra time insuring your child is brushing and flossing properly. If your child is under eight years of age, consider brushing and flossing your child’s teeth and then letting your child go back and brush and floss on their own.

Start Infant Dental Care Early for Healthy Baby Teeth

You may be surprised to learn that dental care should begin even before your baby’s first tooth appears. Starting good oral hygiene early is crucial to keep baby teeth and gums healthy.

As soon as your baby is born, clean their gums with a soft cloth after feeding. Once teeth erupt, use a baby toothbrush with just water. When teeth touch around age 2, start brushing gently with a smear of fluoride toothpaste twice daily.

Never put your baby to bed with a bottle as the sugar coats teeth and causes severe decay. Avoid juices and limit sugary foods. Schedule your child’s first dental visit by age 1. Detecting problems early prevents extensive treatment later.

Establishing excellent dental habits now ensures your child maintains healthy, cavity-free teeth for life. Partner with your family dentist and make brushing part of your daily routine. Your baby’s smile will thank you!

Visit our amazing kid friendly dental office at 3421 Burke Rd Ste A, Pasadena, Texas 77504 or call us at 713-941-8261.