Baby Tooth Decay: how to prevent it!
What babies get tooth decay! For real! How!
Unfortunately, it comes too late, when their child has had already suffered from baby bottle tooth decay and there I was breaking the bad news out to them!
Do you know what are the rates of babies getting affected with that early form of tooth decay! A whopping 80% according to some new research especially in the United Arab Emirates.
Here is some questions and answers to all you need to know about early childhood decay or what we call the “Baby bottle tooth decay” it’s causes the prevention and at the end the treatment needed.
First let’s answer this:
* Are baby teeth important? Aren’t they replaceable?
Everybody knows that baby teeth will fall out! They are not as important as adult teeth right? No! Wrong! It’s true that primary teeth only last a few years! but they were created for a reason! Think about it: a child needs his baby teeth to eat to chew to digest food to smile to talk to be confident to be accepted by their peers…! must I keep going on to the benefits of having teeth?
Also think about it; they need pain free teeth! Healthy teeth!
* Is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay Dangerous?
Take the example of a 14 year old child that I saw in my clinic. If you see her she is petite lacks confidence barely smiles and is a picky eater literally eats nothing! Of course needless to say she is much smaller than her peers. The story was she started her battle at the age of 4 and lost most of her teeth! Unfortunately until now 10 years later she is still suffering the consequences! Unbelievable eh?
* Do Baby Teeth with Cavities Need to be Treated?
Yes, yes and yes!
I would definitely advice you to take your child to the best pediatric dentist in town to deal with this problem as early as possible.
Even better I would advise starting preventive measures before there is any decay on your child’s milky teeth.
Be careful children’s teeth are very prone to decay so get these measures in place the earliest you can. We in the Pediatric Dentistry world call this “Anticipatory guidance” or first dental visit when you come see the dentist without a complaint to just learn tips and tricks to take better care of those pearly whites!
* What causes Tooth Decay in Babies?
Acid-producing bacteria are everywhere! They can get passed from parent to child so easily through saliva like these which are in spoons or cups.
Tooth decay develops when your child’s teeth are exposed for prolonged periods of time to anything that contains Sugar! Like for e.g. milk!
The most common way causing tooth decay is when the baby sleeps with a bottle of formula milk, juice, soft drinks, sugar water, or drinks that full of sugars. Moreover, it can occur when your child is allowed to frequently drink anything other than water from bottle during the day or night.
The dangers of overnight feeding is rampant decay levels that spread like fire on the teeth. Sugar in the liquid or food will change to acid by bacteria in the mouth. The acid dissolves the enamel causing tooth decay.
* What are Symptoms and signs of Tooth Decay in Babies?
White spots yellow or even brown spots are signs of early decay. The front teeth are affected first. It all starts like a stain that doesn’t want to go away on the upper front teeth.
A child with tooth decay needs to be treated early to stop the decay from spreading and prevent further damage.
For more about how to Prevent Tooth Decay in Babies:
Read this blog: Tips for Dental Care for your child: All You need to know!
Some more tips are on this video:
- If your child must have a bottle or sippy cup for long periods, fill it with water only.
- Limit the amount of sweet or sticky foods your child eats like candy, gummies, cookies, or Fruit. They are especially bad if your child snacks on them a lot..
- Make an appointment to have your child see the dentist before the age of 1.
Recommendations to Get rid of the Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?
At the very early signs of discoloration, you and your child’s dentist can work together to stop the decay from spreading. Fluoride treatment or fluoride varnish application can remineralize all of the teeth. There is also new evidence to Silver Diamine Fluoride to stop the bacterial activity. It does leave a black stain on the teeth, however, some parents are ok with the discoloration to help stop the decay from spreading and avoid all the negative consequences that it can bring to a child’s life.
Some of the changes that can be done at home to stop the decay:
- Limiting juice consumption
- Instead of juice or milk, fill your child’s bottle with water only!
When to Worry?
If decay is spotted at later stages, fluoride treatments can’t be sufficient.
How to know if your child is having sever symptoms from tooth decay?
- Brown or black spots on the teeth
- Bleeding or swollen gums
- Fever, swelling or irritability, which could indicate dental infection
- Bad breath that does not disappear after brushing.
If your child shows any of these symptoms, You have to see a dentist for toddlers as soon as possible.
Treatment options for severe decay levels:
Treatment for baby bottle tooth decay is very tricky unlike adult dentistry, dental treatment on the chair for a child can be very hard for the child and the parent alike.
I always advice parents to find the best specialist dentist for the job who specializes only in pediatric dentistry. The reason why is because the Pediatric Dentist will have the child’s long term health at heart and will be suggesting longer lasting treatment options that help the child grow happily without dental pain.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry states that stainless steel crowns are often used because they are durable and less likely to require any follow-up work.
Depending on the child’s age and maturity level, sedation or even general anesthesia maybe suggested if there is a need for extensive restoration work.
Don’t forget, the best way to baby bottle tooth decay is prevention. If your child experience early childhood dental caries, our office in Dubai can work with you to determine the best treatment options and help your child’s smile light up your world.