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How to prevent baby-bottle tooth decay or carries

Updated: Sep 1, 2019



What is the cause?


Exposure to sugary or carbohydrate filled liquids/foods for prolonged periods of time. For example, when a baby falls asleep with a bottle in his/her mouth, hence the name 'baby-bottle carries'. This is not exclusive to formula fed infants---it can occur with breastfed infants as well.


Baby-bottle tooth decay or carries can also be caused by bacteria passing into the baby's mouth such as a dirty pacifier...OR if your baby does not receive enough fluoride, which helps to strengthen teeth.


Why is this bad?


Although your baby will have their baby teeth for a shorter amount of time than their adults teeth, they are still important. Baby teeth begin the phase where they actually learn to eat and nourish their bodies through food. Without these teeth, it would be hard to have all of the variety of foods available.


How do you prevent it?


Make sure that you clean your baby's gums or teeth after a feeding--- especially before bed so that the milk does not sit in the mouth while they are sleeping. Once the baby has teeth, clean them with a small amount of toothpaste that contains fluoride. Make sure to thoroughly clean anything that might enter the baby's mouth such as pacifiers. Lastly, encourage your children to use a cup by their first birthday to help prevent holding a bottle in their mouth. If you have to put your baby to bed with a bottle, fill it with water instead of any other fluid.


Once your baby has their first tooth, you will want to schedule regular dentist appointments to maintain healthy teeth!


Until next time!


Mikayla and Cassie

Mamas Maternal Health Registered Dietitians/Lactation Counselors


References:

https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/b/baby-bottle-tooth-decay


Photo by Christian Hermann on Unsplash


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