Yes, your infant can have dental problems. While you may not see them yet, your baby does have teeth. In fact, humans are born with a full set of teeth – they are just hidden inside the gums until they are ready to emerge. Unfortunately, just because your baby has a gummy smile, doesn’t mean they are exempt from real dental problems. This includes decay!
One of the most common and serious dental health problems in babies and toddlers is known as “baby bottle tooth decay.” This refers to the development of cavities caused by the frequent and long-term exposure to liquids containing sugars, such as milk, formula, fruit juice, sodas and other sweetened drinks. Regardless of one’s age, there is bacteria inside the mouth that thrives on these sugars and produces acids that attack the teeth and gums – including those of an infant! Over time, these acid attacks create dental decay.
Protecting a Growing Smile
The most critical rule in avoiding baby bottle decay is not letting your child fall asleep with a bottle or sippy cup that contains sweetened liquid. Not only will the sugars linger on your baby’s gums for an extended period of time, but saliva production also decreases during sleep. This makes it less likely that the sugars and bacteria will naturally get rinsed away.
At Georgia Orthodontics & Children’s Dentistry, we encourage parents of infants to clean and massage their baby’s gums once a day. This not only helps to prevent decay, but it also aids in teething. Once your little one is able to spit (around the age of two) you should begin using fluoride toothpaste. Keep in mind that if you are concerned your child may have baby bottle decay, see a dentist right away. Left untreated this pediatric dental condition can lead to severe pain and infection.
Has your baby turned 1? If so, it’s time to schedule his or her first dental visit. Contact our Alpharetta children’s dental clinic today!
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13075 Hwy 9, Suite 110
Milton, GA 30004
Phone: (770) 521-2100Mon – Fri: 8:30am – 5:00pm