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How Can You Prevent Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?

How Can You Prevent Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?

​The alternative name for baby bottle tooth decay is “early childhood caries,” which means cavities that form on baby teeth at a young age.

We know that healthy baby teeth lead to healthy adult teeth. They are space holders for the adult teeth and provide a healthy environment for the future adult teeth. Tooth decay in baby teeth can lead to pain, infections, missing teeth, difficulty chewing and speech and unnecessary stress.

What is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay? 

This condition occurs when your child’s baby teeth are exposed to sugars, usually in the form of milk from a bottle or sweet drinks, and start to decay. The decay will typically present on the upper front teeth but can extend to any tooth in the mouth. This condition is most common when a bottle is used as a pacifier or when a baby is left with a bottle of milk overnight.

This is because their teeth will be bathed in sugary liquid for an extended time, increasing the risk for decay. Pediatricians recommend that the only liquid given at night in a bottle is water. Inadequate intake of fluoride can also lead to baby bottle tooth decay. Fluoride helps protect the baby teeth from decay and should be ingested by drinking tap water and using a small amount of toothpaste containing fluoride by the age of 3.

Tooth decay is caused by bacteria and, therefore, can also be passed from mother/father to baby by passing bacteria contacting saliva. This means that sharing a spoon or utensil should be avoided.

Signs & Symptoms of Baby Bottle Tooth Decay 

Tooth decay may occur in its early stages without presenting any signs or symptoms. Small cavities between teeth may not show at all. They may show minor white or brown-stained patches between teeth as they progress and get larger. More advanced decay will look like chips or fractures between teeth and may be yellow, brown or black.

Your baby may also be experiencing pain or discomfort due to the decay. They may show this by being fussy, crying, or presenting with swelling and a fever. Taking your toddler to the dentist at an early age is vital at the onset of the first teeth. Your dentist can check areas of your toddlers’ teeth that you can’t access. If baby bottle tooth decay is left untreated, it can lead to pain, infection, loss of teeth, problems with the adult teeth and very costly dental treatment.

Preventing Baby Bottle Tooth Decay 

Reducing the amount of sugar your baby consumes plays a vital role in reducing their risk. Try not to give your baby anything else to drink but water or milk. Make sure you do not leave them to sleep at night with a milk bottle, and do not use a bottle of milk as a pacifier.

Be sure to avoid sharing your own saliva with your baby. After feeding, clean your baby’s teeth and gums with a gauze and a small toothbrush. When your baby sleeps, their mouth must be clear from any sugars. Also, be on the lookout for signs and symptoms of baby bottle tooth decay.

Treatment of Baby Bottle Tooth Decay 

If the decay is still tiny and in the early stages, your dentist can use fluoride treatment to remineralize the areas and prevent the decay from growing. Stronger fluoride such as silver diamine fluoride may be applied to areas of decay. Filling and dental crowns are possible solutions if the decay is more extensive and cannot be treated with fluoride. The decay will be removed and filled, and a crown will protect the tooth until it is ready to fall out.

The last resort is to have a severely decayed tooth extracted when there is no other option. In this case, a space maintainer may be used to hold the proper space for the future adult tooth. Treatment of decay on baby teeth, as mentioned earlier, is vital to the health of the future adult teeth and your child’s overall wellbeing.

Please contact us if you have any questions about baby bottle tooth decay. 

Importance of Routine Dental Visits for Your Child

Importance of Routine Dental Visits for Your Child

Routine dental visits are essential for all people of any age, starting around three years old. As long as there are teeth present, there is the possibility of cavities, gum disease and any other mouth or tissue abnormality. 

What Happens at Your Child’s Appointment? 

Your child is recommended to have a check-up exam and a dental cleaning at least every six months with their dentist and dental hygienist. During these appointments, your child’s teeth will be completely cleaned with various tools, stains removed with polishing, fluoride treatments provided to prevent cavities, oral hygiene instruction demonstrated and reviewed, and their teeth and mouths thoroughly checked over to assess for health.

A diagnosis will be made regarding their teeth and gums’ health, and any necessary referrals will be made, such as to an orthodontist. These visits are critical times to check in to make sure they are doing an adequate job with their brushing and flossing and to set new goals for them regarding keeping their teeth and gums healthy at home.

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Common Issues During Exfoliation/ Eruption 

Several common issues occur in children’s mouths when they are losing baby teeth and getting adult teeth, and these issues are looked for and assessed each time your child comes in for their check-up. Periodically, x-rays will be taken to assess the adult teeth’ position under the gums and the health of the baby teeth. Listed below are several common issues that occur in children’s mouths that may affect future spacing and alignment:

  • Premature loss of a baby tooth 
  • Delayed loss of a baby tooth 
  • Eruption of an adult tooth behind a baby tooth
  • Ectopic (meaning out of place) adult canines or any other adult tooth under the gums 
  • Hypoplastic enamel of adult teeth (meaning the enamel didn’t form properly)
  • Extra or missing adult teeth 

A check-up exam and x-rays will give a precise diagnosis if any of these conditions arise, and the necessary steps can be taken. A referral may be made to an orthodontist. A baby tooth may need to be extracted to create space, etc. It is vital to catch these problems as early as possible to create a solution. Make sure to bring your child in every six months for their cleaning and check-up exam. 

If your child is due for their cleaning and check-up exam, or you have any questions about the health of your child’s teeth, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment. 

What is Toothbrush Abrasion & How to Prevent It

What is Toothbrush Abrasion & How to Prevent It

Toothbrush abrasion is tooth surface wear caused by overzealous tooth brushing over time. It usually appears as small indentations or notches along the gum line, mainly occurring on the front surface of the premolars and molars where it is easy to over brush. 

Signs and Symptoms of Toothbrush Abrasion 

  • Gum recession 
  • Notched enamel at the gum line 
  • Yellowing teeth at the gum line 
  • Tooth sensitivity  

Treatment Options for Toothbrush Abrasion 

  • Sensitivity toothpaste can be used to prevent sensitivity associated with the abrasion. It is recommended to use sensitivity toothpaste twice a day while brushing, and it can provide instantaneous and long-lasting relief.
  • Fillings at the gum line to fill in the abrasion notches are another treatment option. White filling material is used to fill in the abrasion and helps prevent sensitivity by blocking the vulnerable tooth structure underneath. Fillings also help prevent further abrasion by blocking the vulnerable tooth structure from abrasive brushing. 

How To Prevent Toothbrush Abrasion

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It is essential to use the correct brushing technique to prevent toothbrush abrasion. Make sure to use either a super soft or soft manual toothbrush or an electric toothbrush to brush your teeth. Never use a medium or a hard manual toothbrush as the bristles are too firm and contribute to damage to the gums and tooth structure. If you use an electric toothbrush, make sure not to apply too much pressure or to brush aggressively with it. Let the electric toothbrush do the work for you by holding it against a tooth for a few seconds and moving on to the next tooth. A helpful tool that some electric toothbrushes have is a pressure indicator that either activates a sound or a light when you are applying too much pressure. An electric toothbrush with a pressure indicator is recommended for patients who are prone to brushing aggressively. If brushing with a soft or super soft manual toothbrush, make sure to brush away from the gums in sweeping strokes and never scrub back and forth. If you notice the bristles of your toothbrush splaying, it is an indication that you are brushing too aggressively. 

If you have any questions about toothbrush abrasion or believe you may benefit from treatment options for toothbrush abrasion, we encourage you to contact us to schedule an appointment. 

 If you have any questions, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment.