Babies are precious. The little bundle of joys can make your day. However, there are some common mistakes made by parents that would soon turn a joyful moment into a sad and tragic situation. One of the most common is bottle rot, also known as tooth decay in babies and toddlers.
Bottle rot is associated with many things, but it is prevalent when parents and caregivers decide to give their children the bottle for a nap or to sleep. The long exposure of teeth to sugary liquids is the number one cause of tooth decay. The sugar sticks on the baby’s teeth and over time turn into decay.
Some of the first signs of tooth decay include:
- A dull white strip on the tooth closest to the gum line.
- A yellow, brown or black band on the tooth. This is a sign of progressive decay
- Brownish-black stumps on teeth. This shows advanced decay.
Here are some of the easy ways to prevent baby bottle rot:
Sterilise the bottles
Clean and sterilise the baby bottles before each meal. This helps get rid of bacteria that could cause tooth decay. You can sterilise the bottle in many ways including boiling them in water, using a steam sterilizer in the microwave and even using the electric steamer.
You should also avoid cleaning a baby’s pacifier with your mouth, sharing chewed food or using the same spoon.
Get rid of sugar
Avoid sugary drinks such as juices and sugar water. Do not dip pacifiers into sweet stuff or sweeteners as they will only build up in the babies’ mouths. Remember to get rid of sugar between meals.
Brush gum and teeth
Brushing the babies gum using a clean gauze pad or washcloth. Make sure to massage the gums as well.
Doctors also recommend brushing the child’s first tooth without toothpaste. However, when using toothpaste, it is advisable to use a fluoride-free one.
Keep the bottle away during sleep and nap times
Since the sugar build up happens faster when the baby is exposed to the feeding bottle for long durations, avoid giving babies the bottle during nap and sleep times. Also, avoid encouraging your child to walk around with the bottles in their mouths. If the baby is already used to the bottle, replace the sugary drinks with water.
Visit the dentist
When you notice decay in your child, visit the dentist as soon as possible. It is however recommended that the child’s first visit to the dentist should happen once the first tooth pops out.
Remember healthy baby teeth leads to healthy permanent teeth.