Take Care of Baby Teeth

One of the most common misconceptions we at Kalamazoo Pediatric Dentistry see in our children’s dental office is that the health of baby teeth isn’t a main factor in a child’s overall health. However, research has shown that oral health is linked to overall, holistic health. Also, the condition of a child’s baby teeth has a direct effect on their adult teeth and their smile. Baby teeth also help children chew, develop proper speech and hold the space for adult teeth to develop.

Because of these reasons, parents should do everything they can to protect their children’s teeth, and that starts with routine dental visits and the prevention of what is known as baby bottle decay which is the number one chronic childhood disease.

Baby bottle tooth decay is the term used to describe a baby’s or toddler’s struggle with caries, or cavities. This condition is most commonly found in the upper front teeth but can affect any of the teeth. It can be caused by breast milk or formula, at least one of which a baby will certainly have in their young life. When these liquids remain on the teeth for extended periods of time, bacteria can run rampant and attack the enamel of the teeth. Caries, or cavities, are caused by bacteria. Caries are contagious tooth to tooth and person to person.

Here’s how to prevent baby bottle decay:

  • Don’t share eating utensils with your child as this transmits bacteria.
  • Rinse and clean pacifiers and toys regularly.
  • Use a washcloth to clean the gums after feedings.
  • Begin brushing your baby’s teeth as soon as they erupt. Talk to us about which toothbrush and toothpaste to use.
  • Never use bedtime bottles to soothe your child to sleep after brushing.
  • Schedule dental check-ups every six months and call our office right away if you notice any signs of decay in your child’s mouth.