Tooth decay in babies and young children is known as baby bottle tooth decay. Some of the reasons for baby bottle tooth decay include high consumption of sugary foods and beverages due to which sugars cling on to the child’s teeth for prolonged periods. The bacteria present in the mouth thrive on sugars and creates acids which cause decay of the tooth.
It is recommended not to dip pacifiers in syrups or sugary drinks or offer a child sugary beverages before bedtime as secretion of saliva reduces when a child sleeps, as a result of this increases the chances of tooth decay.
Baby bottle tooth decay mainly affects the upper front teeth, but can also affect other teeth of the child. Parents often perceive that baby bottle tooth decay is not an issue as baby teeth are temporary. They are wrong.
Baby teeth are important for chewing food, smiling and speaking. Baby teeth also act as a placeholder of adult teeth. Untreated baby bottle tooth decay can result in infection and pain, requiring removal of severely decayed teeth.
Losing baby teeth at an early age can result in crooked adult teeth, speech impairments, poor eating habits and damaged adult teeth.
However, baby bottle tooth decay can be prevented by adopting good oral hygiene habits from an early age. Here are some tips and recommendations for preventing baby bottle tooth decay.