Healthy teeth start with good oral hygiene practices beginning at a very young age. Dr. Jaclyn Bae, your Yorba Linda, CA pediatric dentist at Sunshine Pediatric Dentistry, explains how letting your baby sleep with a bottle can lead to cavities.
What causes the problem?
If your baby falls asleep with the nipple in their mouth, small amounts of milk leak out and collect around the teeth. While your child sleeps, the sugars in the milk combine with the bacteria in their mouth to form acids that attack tooth enamel and cause cavities. The problem can occur even if you put expressed breast milk in a bottle.
Are cavities really an issue if my baby only has a few teeth?
Cavities can occur at any age and can happen even if your child only has one tooth. Although some people don't think cavities in baby teeth are a cause for concern, these teeth act as place holders for your child's adult teeth. If they lose one or more teeth, there may no longer be enough space for their permanent teeth.
How can I help my child avoid the problem?
Some parents simply stop giving their babies a bottle at night or substitute water for milk. However, many babies and toddlers will protest very loudly if you try to force them to abruptly give up their nightly bottles. If your child doesn't appreciate the substitution, slowly make the change to water only. Decrease the amount of milk in the bottle gradually. Gradually decrease the amount of milk until the bottle only contains water.
How can I make sure that my baby doesn't already have cavities?
Regular visits to your child's Yorba Linda dentist will help you ensure that tooth decay is detected and treated in its earliest stages. Pediatric dentists recommend that young children visit the dentist within six months of the eruption of the first tooth or at age one at the latest.
Is it time for your child's dental exam? Call Dr. Jaci, your Yorba Linda, CA pediatric dentist, at (714) 660-1890 to schedule a convenient appointment time. Protect your child's oral health with regular dental examinations.