The Symptoms of Baby Bottle Tooth Decay How to Prevent It - Step To Health

The Symptoms of Baby Bottle Tooth Decay How to Prevent It

Baby bottle tooth decay is a destructive process that affects children's teeth and develops due to the excessive proliferation of bacteria. How can you recognize and prevent this disease? Learn the answer in this article!
The Symptoms of Baby Bottle Tooth Decay How to Prevent It

Last update: 25 October, 2021

Baby bottle tooth decay is a form of cavities that affect babies and toddlers. It can lead to serious consequences if not properly attended to.

Today, we’d like to take this opportunity to detail what this problem is about, how to recognize it, and what measures to take in order to reduce risks.

What exactly is baby bottle tooth decay?

This is a damaging tooth bacterial process. These bacteria, usually inhabiting the mouth, thrive in this environment due to sugars and other food debris that accumulate on the teeth.

This type of cavities affects baby teeth, especially in bottle-fed infants. It can also affect children up to 4 or 5 years of age.

A baby crying.
Baby bottle tooth decay is a destructive process caused by an excessive proliferation of bacteria.

Why does it happen?

Babies who drink liquids rich in sugars such as milk, fruit juices, milkshakes, or soft drinks often are prone to it as these sugars accumulate around the teeth and gums.

In general, a large number of bacteria naturally live in the mouth. Thus, when these bacteria encounter an accumulation of sugars around the tooth, they settle on it and begin to feed on the sugars. However, they also acquire a taste for enamel and tooth tissue. The result is a progressively weakened tooth.

Babies who are most at risk for this type of cavities are those exposed to sugary liquids for long periods of time. For example, babies who fall asleep with a bottle in their mouth or those whose parents dip their pacifier in sweetened liquids and let them keep it in their mouth for several hours at a time.

In addition, the more time the gums and teeth go without brushing, the more likely it’ll be for cavities to develop. This is because bacteria have more time to do their thing.

The symptoms and consequences of baby bottle tooth decay

As you can see, it’s important to be attentive to the appearance of any symptom, no matter how small it may be. Mainly because a delay in diagnosis and treatment will lead to more serious consequences.

The first symptom is small white spots on the teeth. These stains will darken, become yellowish, and then brown or black. In addition to these spots, there may be bad breath or pain in the affected parts.

Furthermore, the tooth may even fall when cavities are allowed to progress. Unfortunately, the permanent dentition may also be affected. This can lead to speech or chewing problems when the new teeth appear.

A toddler brushing their teeth.
Baby bottle tooth decay can cause anything from small spots on the teeth to tooth loss. It can even lead to problems in subsequent permanent teeth.

How to go about Repositioning a Baby Tooth

How to prevent baby bottle tooth decay

The most important thing to prevent cavities is, of course, proper oral hygiene:

  • Massage the baby’s gums daily with a clean, damp cloth if they have no teeth.
  •  Start brushing baby teeth as soon as they begin to appear with a soft toothbrush and the amount of toothpaste about a third of the size of a pea.
  • Skip those things we mentioned above (such as the child falling asleep with the bottle, dipping the pacifier in liquids with sugar, etc) as they’ll increase the risk of cavities.
  • It’s also important to exercise proper oral hygiene when the child uses a bottle or a pacifier.
  • The baby will require dental check-ups when the teeth begin to come in.

As always, meticulous control of all these factors is essential to prevent the situation from becoming more complicated. And so is consulting a specialist as soon as any of the above symptoms appear.

It might interest you...
7 Ways to Reduce Added Sugar in Children’s Diets
Step To Health
Read it in Step To Health
7 Ways to Reduce Added Sugar in Children’s Diets

One of the food issues that parents are most concerned about is how to reduce their child's sugar intake. Although wanting sweet treats is somethin...