Have you heard “Kids are young! They don’t get cavities” or “Only the permanent teeth matter, baby teeth can get cavities”? These are common myths. Actually, baby teeth are extremely important. As the baby teeth grow, they clear a healthy path for permanent teeth to grow. Tooth decay in young children often referred to as Baby Bottle Tooth Decay or Early Childhood Caries, can affect the way children learn to eat and speak.
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay and More
Just as adult tooth decay begins by breaking down the enamel on your teeth through overexposure to sugars and bacteria, childhood caries begins in a similar way. It may seem harmless to give your child soda, a bottle to sleep with, or food off of your spoon but all of these actions can contribute to Baby Bottle Tooth Decay.
Sugars Decay Baby Teeth
Baby bottles can be the main determinant of tooth decay in young children. Extended exposure to sugars on the teeth wears away the tooth’s defense mechanism, the enamel. When a baby sleeps with a bottle the sugars from the milk lay on their teeth all night withering away their tooth enamel. Simply, sugars decay baby teeth. Your baby should only use the bottle while eating. Using a bottle as a pacifier can also cause decay through unnecessary exposure to extra sugars on the teeth.
Like many parts of your body, there is a distinction between good and bad bacteria. Bad bacteria that cause tooth decay and bad breath sit in the back of your mouth. When a mother eats off of a spoon or fork and gives it to her child with the saliva on the utensil she is transferring cavity-creating bacteria to her child. Mothers should avoid sharing saliva while eating or when cleaning a pacifier.
Lastly, a child can develop tooth decay through inadequate fluoride. Children should receive fluoride through city drinking water and through their toothpaste. Fluoride is often called a natural cavity fighter because when it washes over the teeth it strengthens the tooth’s enamel.
Teaching your child healthy dental habits at a young age not only creates a routine for them to practice the rest of their life but also gives them a good start for a healthy adult mouth. If you have any questions about Baby Bottle Tooth Decay or scheduling your child’s next visit, please call Dr. Singla at (972)-298-4677.