Combat Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

One of the most common mistakes new parents make is incorrect caring for their child’s teeth. Believe it or not, humans of any age can develop tooth decay and other oral health problems. As long as you have teeth, those teeth can potentially be damaged. That’s why it’s so important that you start brushing from the very first tooth that pokes its way through your child’s gums.

Today we’re going to talk about an even more specific variation of tooth decay – baby bottle tooth decay.


Baby Bottles And Tooth Decay

Baby bottles are a very commonly used product in the US. They help deliver milk and other liquid foods to a baby’s mouth when they’re too young to feed with a spoon. It’s also meant to emulate a pacifier (or a mother’s breast) and help calm the child.

Unfortunately, however, many young parents are unaware of some of the risks associated with using a baby bottle. Let’s dive deeper into this topic.


What Is Tooth Decay?

Tooth decay occurs when bacteria-caused acid burrows its way through the upper layer of the tooth. As it destroys more of the tooth, the damaged part of the tooth can begin to turn black and/or form a hole. This is also often referred to as a cavity or ‘cary.’

Unfortunately, tooth decay can be dangerous when left to its own devices. Unaddressed cavities can eventually reach the inner part of the tooth, resulting in pain and possible damage to the pulp or even the root of the tooth.


What Causes Tooth Decay?

Generally speaking, tooth decay occurs when bacteria consume sugars stuck to your teeth and produce a layer of acid. This acid wears away at enamel, destroying the tooth. The longer carbs linger on the tooth, the more time bacteria have to gorge themselves and produce harmful acids.

Bad oral habits increase your chances of developing tooth decay. For example, forgetting to brush and floss regularly is one of the easiest ways to develop a cavity. Consuming sugary drinks and foods and frequent snacking are also risk factors.


What Do Baby Bottles Have To Do With It?


Baby bottle with formula


As mentioned earlier, frequent snacking contributes to an increased risk of developing cavities. Unfortunately, liquids do even more harm. That’s because they can cover more areas of the mouth and get into every nook and cranny. So when a baby is given a bottle of sweet juice or milk, the milk sticks to their teeth. Bacteria then feed off these sugars, producing harmful acid.

Parents often allow their children to hold on to baby bottles for long periods of time. This is understandable since it can help calm a child down. Unfortunately, this only allows the harmful sugars to linger even longer.

It’s important to remember that milk has a surprising amount of naturally occurring sugar. So although a bit of dairy may seem like a healthy choice, it’s often not. The baby formula also has its own added sugars.

If you do choose to give your child a baby bottle, try not to leave it with them for long periods of time.


Spreading Bacteria

Did you know that cavity-causing bacteria can spread from person to person? Many parents often overlook this fact, putting their children at unnecessary risk. It’s best not to swap saliva with children. This means no sharing of food, spoons, or utensils.

Even ordinary daily actions can inadvertently cause an exchange of bacteria. For example, letting your child eat from the same banana as you can spread more than you’d think. Even worse than bacteria, however, you could accidentally exchange a bit of blood from a cut in your mouth.


How To Prevent Tooth Decay?

Maintaining healthy teeth requires a good game plan. It’s almost always easier to prevent tooth decay than it is to fix it. 


Good Oral Health Habits

It’s important to brush your child’s teeth regularly. Make sure to ask your pediatric dentist for a recommendation as far as toothbrushes and toothpaste go. For the first year or two, your child’s teeth will probably require very little toothpaste.

Once your child grows up a little and has more teeth come in, they’ll need flossing as well. This will help get solid food particles out from those small crevices.


Dental Check-Ups

Aside from taking care of your teeth on a daily basis, dental check-ups are your next best line of defense. During a dental check-up, your dentist can take a look at you or your child’s teeth. They’ll look for signs of tooth decay, gum disease, or other oral health conditions. Bi-annual cleanings can help remove plaque buildup as well.

When choosing a dental provider, make sure to do some research and ask around. Word of mouth can be a great tool for finding a new dentist. If you have a baby or children, you may want to find an office that offers pediatric care. For example, here at Snodgrass-King Dental, we offer services for children and adults alike. Our pediatric dentists have years of experience dealing with small children. We offer a variety of services — everything from fillings and crowns to adult care, such as teeth whitening.


Healthy Eating Habits

As we mentioned earlier, sugars and carbs are well known to increase your chances of developing tooth decay. Unlike cookies, broccoli and other veggies don’t offer much for bacteria to munch on. Sugary drinks are quite harmful as well. Instead of soda, try to opt for water or other low-calorie drinks. Keep in mind that juices and milk still have inherent sugar, even when not added.


How To Get Rid Of Cavities?

If you suspect you have a cavity, it’s best to see a dentist as soon as possible. When it comes to children, it can be a little harder to tell when they have an oral condition. Look out for signs of a toothache or other discomfort in the mouth. Bi-annual dental visits help monitor oral health as well.

If your child develops a cavity, your dentist will most likely recommend a course of treatment. For small areas of tooth decay, fillings are a common solution. These days, these come in a variety of forms, including porcelain, composite, and even silver fillings

The best way to fight cavities, however, is almost always preventative measures. This means brushing teeth at least twice a day, avoiding sugar, and going in for regular dental check-ups.


Pediatric Dentist Tennessee


Pediatric dentist doing a check-up.

Looking for a new pediatric dentist? We’d be happy to have you here at Snodgrass-King Dental! We offer services for children and adults alike. This means that you can come in for your dental cleaning while your child gets theirs. The best part? You get to know all of your family’s dental providers and establish a long-term relationship with them.

Our staff believes in offering the best service possible to our patients. That’s why we treat each patient that walks through our doors as if they were family. Want to hear from some of our current customers? Check out our online reviews! Our clients love us, and it shows.

Our practice offers a variety of services; here are a few:

  • Dental Sealants
  • Fillings
  • Crowns
  • Tooth Extractions
  • Crossbite Correction
  • Teeth Whitening
  • Implants

And much more…

If you’d like to learn more about Snodgrass-King, don’t forget to check out more of our website. You can meet some of our team members here. We’ve also got a blog filled with lots of articles with great info about how to take care of your teeth. You can find new patient forms and helpful contact information as well. 

For your conveyance, our practice offers a handful of offices throughout the Tennessee area. Our offices are located in Franklin, Spring Hill, Murfreesboro, and Mt. Juliet. All of our locations offer top-tier dental services to their communities. We’re proud to be a cornerstone of the Tennessee community, and we couldn’t be happier to serve our patients.

Interested in scheduling your first appointment? Call or fill out our online form today. We’d love to meet you!