Great question! What was once known as baby bottle tooth decay and now called "early childhood caries" refers to the development of cavities in baby teeth, often caused by the frequent and long-term exposure of a child's teeth to liquids containing sugars. These liquids include milk, formula, fruit juice, sodas and other sweetened drinks. The bacteria in the mouth thrive on this sugar and produce acids that attack the infant's teeth and gums. After numerous attacks, cavities can begin to form.
The first rule is to make sure your child does not fall asleep with a bottle containing milk, formula, juice or other sweetened liquids. Giving an infant a sugary drink before bedtime is harmful because the flow of saliva decreases during sleep, allowing the sugary liquids to linger on the child's teeth for an extended period of time. If left untreated, pain and infection can result.
So, how can you prevent baby teeth from getting cavities? In addition to eliminating sweet drinks, brush your child's teeth using a soft toothbrush, and a small amount of fluoride toothpaste.
The American Academy of Pediatrics, American Dental Association, and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommend that children have their first dental visit by 12 month of age. We would love to meet your family and give your child the care they deserve! Please give us a call if your child hasn't visited our Raleigh and Wakefield office in the last six months or to set up a new patient appointment at one of our offices!