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Having a child is a huge responsibility. With this responsibility comes many cares, concerns and questions, many of which have no specific answer. Luckily, when it comes to teeth, there are answers! Let’s look at a common concern–Baby Bottle Tooth Decay. We’ll address what it is as well as what to do to prevent it.

Baby Bottle Tooth Decay, also called Early Childhood Caries, is preventable. It is caused by the same thing that causes adult cavities: acid erosion from bacteria (plaque), which eat sugars.

Start an oral hygiene habit a few days after your child is born, by gently wiping their gums with a clean gauze pad. Keep up this practice after each feeding. When the child gets her or his first tooth, begin brushing teeth carefully with a very soft-bristled brush and a small smear of fluoride toothpaste (about the size of a grain of rice). Both of these practices prevent plaque from staying on your child’s teeth, which would cause decay. Continue to assist and then supervise brushing teeth until your child is about 6 or 7 and can be trusted to do it on their own.

Additionally, you can help prevent erosion by only putting breast milk, milk, or formula in baby’s bottles. Avoid sugar water, juice, and soda. Even if you only fill it with breast milk, milk, or formula, prolonged exposure to the liquid could contribute to Baby Bottle Tooth Decay. Thus, babies should finish their bottles before naptime or bedtime.

For more information, call Central Washington Pediatric Dentistry in Yakima, Washington, at 509-248-2973. Drs. Smith, Smith and our team are happy to help!