Tooth decay occurs when the surface of the teeth, the enamel gets damaged due to the action of bacteria, consumption of excess sugary stuff, and poor maintenance of dental hygiene. Decay in the tooth can lead to cavities which drill holes into the teeth and cause pain and infection if not treated on time.
Baby bottle tooth decay occurs when the baby teeth of infants get severely decayed. Although it is called baby bottle tooth decay, it can also be caused due to frequent, long-lasting feedings at nap times.
When babies are fed with milk or formula during nap-time or bedtime, the sugar present in them stays on the teeth. This sugar is broken down by bacteria present in the mouth into acid which slowly corrodes the enamel present on the milk teeth of the babies causing them to decay. Since the enamel present on the milk teeth is thinner on the milk teeth as compared to permanent teeth, tooth decay is accelerated in babies.
The process of decay generally doesn’t occur during the day when the baby is active because the saliva in the mouth helps to wash way the excess sugars present on the teeth; but during nap time, saliva usually doesn’t flow into the mouth as a result bacteria can easily harm the baby’s teeth.
- After each feeding, the child’s gums should be cleaned with a clean & damp gauze pad or washcloth.
- When the baby starts teething, its teeth should be gently brushed with a child-size toothbrush and little amount of fluoride toothpaste.
- Children should be supervised while brushing as they might swallow and not spit the toothpaste.
- The baby bottles should be used only with breast milk or formula milk. Other liquids like juices, soft drinks and sugar water should not be filled.
- Infants should not be allowed to sleep while they’re feeding; they should be only allowed to sleep after finishing feeding
- When using a pacifier it is imperative not to dip it in sugary substances
- Babies should be encouraged to drink from a sipper cup by their first birthday
- Healthy eating habits should be encouraged