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Saving Face: What You Need To Know About Baby Bottle Tooth Decay And Preserving Your Child’s Teeth

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

So, you’ve decided to opt against all-natural childbirth and you’re leaning more toward formula feeding than breast-feeding.

Keep in mind that while formula and bottle-feeding have come a long way, tooth decay (though not as common as it use to be) remains one of the most common ailments among children. In fact, despite fluoridated drinking water and fluoride-containing toothpaste, many children remain prone to cavities, making brushing and a well-balanced diet as important as ever.

Children being to teeth as a result of teeth erupting in the infant’s mouth at about 4 to 6 months o age and generally continue until all 20 (teeth) have come in at about 2 ½ years old. And, teething is among the first significant and painful events your baby will experience.

The “explosion” of primary teeth, referred to as teething often results in sore and tender gums that look red and puffy and often require a cold teething ring or washcloth to chew on to release and relieve the pain and pressure. (Note: teething medicines are NOT recommended).

This first set of teeth at some point will be replaced by his or her permanent teeth. But, in the interim, primary teeth must be kept healthy enabling your child to chew food, speak, and have an attractive smile.

And, parents should note:

· Primary teeth are most prone to tooth decay soon after they emerge and erupt.

· Tooth decay is triggered by germs (bacteria) and sugars from food or liquids accumulating on the tooth. Over time, these bacteria dissolve the enamel of the tooth causing a cavity.

· Regular care including brushing and flossing prevent bacteria buildup and the damage they cause.

Baby bottle tooth decay (also known as nursing bottle mouth) is considered the main dental dilemma for youngsters under the age of 3. It results due to a child’s exposure to sugary liquids such as formula, fruit juices and other sweetened liquid for a continuous and extended period of time.

One of the major contributors to this problem is putting baby down to sleep with a bottle. The sugary substance flows over the baby’s upper front teeth and eats away at the enamel causing decay that can lead to infection. The longer the ritual continues the more damage baby is prone to. And, treatment is very expensive.

The best way to treat baby bottle tooth decay is to take steps to prevent it.

· Refrain from putting your child to bed with a bottle and never let a child walk around with a bottle in his or her mouth.

· Comfort a child in search of a bottle (between feedings or before bedtime) with a bottle filled with cool, filtered water.

· Keep child’s pacifier clean (if you use one) and NEVER dip it in a sweet liquid.

· Wean your child off the bottle and instead introduce a sippy cup near 1 year of age. Children should be off their bottle before their first birthday.

· Regularly observe your child for any unusual red or swollen areas in his or her mouth or any dark spots on your child’s teeth and be sure to consult a dentist immediately.

Long Island Family Life & Parenting Articles > Saving Face: What You Need To Know About Baby Bottle Tooth Decay And Preserving Your Child’s Teeth

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