Baby bottle tooth decay (BBTD, early childhood caries, bottle rot and so on) is a notion used to characterize extensive tooth decay in infants, toddlers and young children. Baby bottle tooth decay is a serious disease that is unfortunately rather common (for example, according to the statistics of health institutions of the United States — about 70% of children suffer from it).
Why is early childhood caries so special? The problem is that caretakers don’t think a lot about proper mouth hygiene in infants. That is the reason why such an infectious and transmittable disease as tooth decay happens so often. As a rule, baby bottle tooth decay starts from bacteria of Streptococcus type that appears in the mouth of an infant, usually transmitted from parents through spoons, plates or kisses.
Photo 1. Toothache is a sign of caries.
Therefore, if you have a child — it is of great importance to take care of your dental hygiene and regularly see dentists for checkups. Untreated tooth decay in adults can be transmitted to babies through everyday contacts. Do not wait until cavities manifest themselves, do everything you can to prevent tooth decay and to make sure you are not to blame, if your child has baby bottle tooth decay.
Getting back to the process of baby bottle tooth decay development, it should be said once again that pathogenic bacteria in the mouth start becoming dangerous in case infants consume sweetened liquids or drinks with natural sugar content (like milk, baby formula, juices and so on), don’t get enough minerals and don’t get enough dental care from their caretakers. Bacteria live on fermentable sugars and produce acids that destroy tooth enamel (that is rather weak in young children). In turn, it leads to severe tooth decay.
Photo 2. The cause of baby tooth decay development.
Nowadays many parents and caretakers use pacifiers. They bring no serious harm except for the cases when adults dip them in sugar or honey to calm the baby down. At risk are babies who get sugar-containing drinks before nap time or in the evening, as in sleeping people natural salivation is decreased.
The evidence to harmful effect of sugary drinks and sugar-coated pacifiers is tooth decay of the upper front teeth. Anyway, other teeth may also be decayed.
Photo 3. Pacifiers.
Baby bottle caries is often neglected by parents, because they consider baby teeth not as important as permanent, but it’s a common mistake. If untreated timely baby bottle tooth decay may lead to infected tooth pulp and a need in tooth extraction.
Such measures may, in turn, lead to improper eating habits, articulation problems, damaged permanent teeth or crooked teeth.
There are a few tips that can help you prevent the development of baby bottle tooth decay and all the unpleasant consequences it has.
And, perhaps, the most important tip in this article: try to encourage healthy eating habits applicable to all people who would like to have a generally healthy lifestyle. Be the example of right eating and right dental hygiene for your child.
Photo 4. Healthy baby food.
Healthy eating habits, proper hygiene and knowing the chemistry of the process — and you can prevent early childhood tooth decay in your children!