Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Studies have shown, according to Dr. Jacobson, that there is a link between gum disease and heightened risks of heart attack and stroke. Poor dental health has even been linked to Alzheimer’s disease, he says.
“Children should begin seeing a pediatric dentists starting at 12 months and should go in for a visit every six months after that,” says Jacobson. “However, your child’s dentist cannot do it all. It is important for parents to ensure that their child’s teeth are brushed twice a day, beginning with their first tooth. This creates a positive oral health habit in kids starting at an early age.” There are several feeding tips that will prevent baby bottle tooth decay and other early childhood dental complications.
Here are some feeding tips to prevent childhood tooth decay:
- Do not feed your child fluids that are high in sugar.
- Do not feed your child juice, milk, or other drinks before bed, only water.
- Children ages 6 - 12 months should only drink formula.
- When the child has fallen asleep it is important to remove the bottle promptly.
- Avoid letting your child walk around using a bottle of juice or milk as a pacifier.
- Do not dip the pacifier in honey, sugar, or syrup and avoid prolonged use of pacifiers.
- Teach your child to drink from a cup at around 6 months of age and try to stop using a bottle completely by age 12 - 14 months.
- Limit juice consumption to fewer than 6 ounces per day during meals.
According to Dr. Jacobson, prevention is the key to future oral health in children. Pediatric dentists, he says, want to see children starting at an early age so that they can be taught proper brushing and receive fluoride supplementation if necessary.
"It is important for parents to recognize that baby teeth are space holders for a child’s permanent teeth and need attention,” he says. “Baby teeth aid in the development of speech, are necessary for chewing, and play an important role in the development of a child’s self esteem."
If your child has baby bottle tooth decay or early childhood dental problems it is important to get these issues taken care of by an expert in laser pediatric dentistry. Often times the procedures needed do not require any shots or drilling and are pain free.