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Having a child depend on you is a huge responsibility. You have many cares, concerns and questions, many of which have no specific answer. Luckily, when it comes to teeth, there usually are answers. Let’s look at a common problem–Baby Bottle Tooth Decay–as well as what to do to prevent it.

You can prevent your child from developing Baby Bottle Tooth Decay (also called Early Childhood Caries). Decay in baby teeth is caused by cavity-inducing bacteria that form into plaque. The key is to keep plaque to a minimum by cleaning it away, and by removing its food–sugary particles left in the mouth.

Start an oral hygiene habit a few days after your child is born by gently wiping the gums with a clean, damp gauze pad. Do this after each feeding. When the child gets her or his first tooth, begin brushing gently with a very soft-bristled brush and a rice-grain-sized smear of fluoride toothpaste. These practices prevent plaque from staying on your child’s teeth, which would cause decay. Continue to assist and then supervise brushing teeth until your child is about 6 or 7 and can be trusted to do it themselves safely.

Additionally, you can help prevent tooth decay by only putting breast milk, milk, or formula in baby’s bottles–no sugar water, juice, or soda. Prolonged exposure to sugary liquid could contribute to Baby Bottle Tooth Decay. Babies need to finish their bottle before naptime or bedtime.

For more information, call Oasis Family Dentistry in Gilbert, Arizona, at 480-926-4498. Dr. Manieka Green and our team are happy to help!