The fight against decay

One serious kind of decay among young children is baby bottle tooth decay. This is caused by frequent and long exposures of baby’s teeth to liquids that contain sugar. These liquids are milk (including breast milk), formula, fruit juice and other sweetened drinks. Putting baby to bed for a nap or at night with a bottle containing something other than water can cause serious and rapid tooth decay. The sweet liquid will pool around baby’s teeth giving plaque bacteria an opportunity to produce acids that attack tooth enamel. If you must give baby a bottle to comfort them at bedtime, it should contain only water. If your child won’t fall asleep without the bottle containing its usual beverage, gradually dilute the bottle’s contents with water over a period of two to three weeks. After each feeding, wipe baby’s gums and teeth with a damp washcloth or gauze pad to remove plaque. The easiest way to do this is to sit down, place the child’s head in your lap or lay the child on a dressing table or the floor. Whatever position you use, be sure you can see into the child’s mouth easily.

Small steps such as these will help to start a foundation of successful preventive care which will help you and your child develop life long healthy dental habits.

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