Baby bottle tooth decay affecting your child…
Baby bottle tooth decay is also known as early childhood caries.
What does Baby bottle tooth decay mean?
This word is used for tooth decay that is commonly seen in infants and very young children. The tooth decay happens when sweetened liquids like milk and fruit juices that stick to an infants teeth for a long time. Microorganisms survive over these sugar substances and makes acid attack on the teeth.
Reasons for baby bottle tooth decay
Baby bottle tooth decay usually occurs in upper front teeth but may also affect other teeth. Frequent prolong exposure of baby’s teeth to sugary drinks or substances is the main cause. It may also occur through vertical transmission from mother to infant through the medium of saliva. Children whose pacifiers are dipped in sugar or syrup, this in turn harms the habit of having sugary drink at nap time or night as the salivary flow is shown to be reduced at night.
Another reason is also when the infant is not adequately supplemented with fluoride.
A few simple steps and you can say good bye to tooth decay..!
- Try not to give your baby sugary pacifiers at night time and if needed bottle feeding is done with plain water in the bottle.
- Take care after your baby’s teeth after each breast feed.
- Starting from birth to 12 months- Brushing habit should be executed soon after the first tooth erupts in the mouth but this cleaning is normally done without a tooth paste but if u wish to use, use a fluoridated tooth paste.
- 12 to 36 months- brushing 2 times a day for 2 minutes is important with a fluoride toothpaste. The best time for this is after breakfast and before bed time.
- And in areas with no teeth just simply massage the gums with a clean gauze.
- Supplementation of fluoride to the teeth is important either by drinking water, milk and if nothing then ask your doctor to provide your child fluoride supplements.
- Doctors also provide sealants that help prevent tooth decay in your child but for this you need to schedule your child’s regular dental visit before his first birthday.
- Other thing you need to keep in mind is regular flossing once a day after all baby teeth come.
- Encourage your child to have healthy eating habits.
- Tooth brushing habits should be reinforced in the child using a fluoridated tooth paste with pea size amount.
- Reduce the amount of sticky or sweet intake to your child, and suppose if need it is to be consumed during meal times.
Treatment of baby bottle tooth decay
The combined support of you and your dentist can help you fight baby bottle tooth decay. The treatment modalities depend on the severity of decay.
The early symptoms are seen as white spots on the tooth surface, at this very first symptom you need to provide fluoride supplement to the child in the form of fluoride varnish, this not only remineralizes the tooth but it also help reform the decayed enamel and rebuild the structure of the tooth.
If the decay is spotted in the late stage then fluoride supplementation cannot be helpful, the severe decay symptoms include black\brown spots on teeth, bleeding gums, irritability that cause infection and bad breath.
Diet modifications at this stage can also be helpful to stop the decay process, some of the measures like limiting acidic foods, citrus juices and using a substitution for juice and sugary drinks in your child’s milk bottle.
Changes in your child’s diet plan can be done by consulting the paediatrician or pedodontist as the nutrition required to every child is different according to the age, nutritional needs and the overall health of the child.
IN CASES OF SEVERE DECAY..
American academy of pediatric dentistry states the use of stainless steel crowns in cases of extensive decay because of good durability and strength.
But in the cases of extensive decay tooth extraction is also necessary if restoration is not an option.
The common misbelief among people about baby teeth is that they are of no importance as they are going to fell off but the truth about these teeth is they hold the space for the permanent teeth and this can result in misalignment of the permanent tooth and thus causing further orthodontic treatment need tot the child.
Sometimes premature tooth loss can also cause many other problems like speech defect, inability to eat proper diet. This can occur because proper speech requires presence of front teeth and in absence of front teeth speech is affected.
The child’s hygiene habits are also affected, parents should instil a positive approach of the child towards good oral hygiene and diet modifications.