Just days into your baby’s life, their teeth are beginning to form. Your baby’s oral health can also greatly affect how their adult teeth form. It’s urgent to keep their teeth healthy now so that your child can grow up with a functional, attractive smile. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to prevent your baby from getting cavities or baby bottle tooth decay. This oral health for babies Q&A can help you keep your baby’s smile nice and healthy now and well into the future.
A: Baby bottle tooth decay usually affects the upper front teeth of a baby, although it can affect other teeth as well. The most common cause of baby bottle tooth decay is frequent and prolonged exposure of the baby’s teeth to drinks that contain sugar. This exposure can happen when the baby is left with a bottle in its crib, or when a bottle is regularly used over a pacifier during periods of fussiness.
Another way baby tooth decay can occur is when saliva is shared between an infant and a primary caregiver, like sharing a feeding spoon or possibly licking a pacifier. Avoid sharing saliva as well as prolonged exposure to sugar to prevent tooth decay.
A: It’s important to start a regular oral hygiene routine with your baby within the first few days after birth. Start by wiping your baby’s gum with a clean gauze pad. When their teeth start to come in, gently brush them with a child’s toothbrush and a small amount of fluoride toothpaste (about the size of a grain of rice).