Baby bottle tooth decay is a condition where the teeth of a child decay due to various reasons. Even though the teeth of your child are temporary, they are still very susceptible to decay and care must be taken to ensure that their teeth and gum remain healthy.
Causes of Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
This condition usually affects children who are below five years of age. Normally the decay affects the front upper teeth but others may be affected too. The condition may occur if the child is exposed to fizzy sugary drinks for a long time without proper oral hygiene. The fizzy drinks have a double effect on the teeth in that the acid they contain weakens the enamel that protects teeth while at the time, the sugar encourages the buildup of harmful bacteria.
Another way in which baby bottle tooth decay can arise is the transmission of bacteria from the mother’s mouth to that of the baby. This happens when the mother puts the child’s feeding spoon into her own mouth (for example to taste the baby’s food) then use the same spoon to feed the child. The bacteria is transferred from the mother to the baby through saliva.
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay Symptoms
Symptoms of baby bottle tooth decay will vary depending on the severity of the decay. In the early stages, the parent might notice that the child has white spots on the surface of the teeth. On careful inspection, a parent might even be able to see the cavities themselves on the tooth. At a more advanced stage, the child will experience toothache, bleeding gums which may or may not be swollen. The parent might also notice that the child develops a fever due to the infection in the gums.
The sooner that child gets treatment for baby bottle tooth decay, the less damage the condition will cause. During the early stages, the pediatric dentist may recommend placing the child under a fluoride treatment program to help remineralize the teeth. At this stage, it is quite possible that this treatment alone can not only stop further tooth decay but can even reverse the damage done. For this to happen, the parent would also have to ensure that the child is no longer exposed to the factors that caused the decay in the first place. If the damage is extensive, the pediatric dentist must suggest restorative work to reduce the damage done.
The most effective way of preventing the condition is to reduce the extent that the child is exposed to sugary drinks and food. These should be replaced with a very balanced diet. Need a highly experienced pediatric dentist to help keep your child’s teeth healthy and strong? Dr. Alex Rubinov is a professional and licensed New York City dentist with years of experience. Contact his practice at (718) 253-0800 for an appointment.