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If you are a parent or caregiver of a baby, you probably think giving your child a bottle at naptime or bedtime is harmless; after all, baby teeth will fall out, to be replaced by permanent teeth. The truth is, baby teeth are still at risk for cavities.

Since these first teeth ensure adult teeth come in correctly, it is important to reduce cavities. Placing an older baby with a bottle of water or heavily diluted juice is usually not a problem, however, a bottle filled with milk or juice can quickly create dental problems. The risk is increased if the baby is allowed to walk around with a bottle constantly without brushing their teeth afterwards.

Baby bottle tooth decay usually affects the upper top teeth, but other teeth can be affected, as well. Cavity-causing bacteria can also be passed from mother to child; this cross-contamination can occur if a mother cleans a pacifier in the baby’s mouth or puts the feeding spoon in her own mouth, thereby passing the bacteria onto her child.

There are some vital steps to help prevent baby bottle tooth decay or rot, and these are:

-Supervising brushing until your child can spit and not swallow toothpaste
-Placing only formula, milk, or breast milk in bottles
-Not sharing saliva with the baby, and after each feeding, wiping the baby’s gums with a clean washcloth or small piece of gauze
-Ensuring babies finish their bottle before bed or naptime
-Providing a clean pacifier with nothing dipped on it
-Encouraging your child to to start drinking from a cup by their first birthday

To consult with our dentist, at Dental Works, about baby bottle tooth decay, in Athens, Texas, contact Dr. Jennifer Morgan. We invite you to call our office at 903-675-0023.