Protecting Your Child's Dazzling Smile

April 30, 2024

Beyond the obvious functions of helping your child chew and speak, baby teeth play an essential role in the future development of your little one's smile. Serving as placeholders, these "first set" of teeth help maintain space for a child's permanent teeth and guide the erupting ones into the proper position.

One thing to remember is that baby teeth can develop cavities just like their adult counterparts. It's even more reason to ensure your baby maintains good oral care from the earliest age, starting when your little one's first tooth comes in.

What is bottle mouth disease?

Bottle mouth disease or "baby bottle tooth decay" refers to widespread childhood cavities that affect some infants and toddlers. It's caused by harmful sugar-metabolizing bacteria in the oral cavity and prolonged exposure to sweetened liquids such as breast milk, baby formula, or juices. Bottle mouth disease often occurs in babies who sleep with a bottle of milk or juice still in their mouths.

While this condition may affect multiple teeth to varying extents, it is most prevalent in the front teeth on the upper jaw. Besides the loss of tooth structure and visible brown decayed areas, bottle mouth disease can produce pain and infection. Getting your baby back on the road to oral health is essential in all cases.

Treating bottle mouth disease

When it comes to treating bottle mouth disease, it takes skilled attention and timely dental care to prevent severe consequences and help get your little one back on the road to oral health. Treatment typically includes:

  • Resolving infections, addressing tooth decay, and restoring teeth with fillings or crowns.
  • Extracting non-restorable baby teeth to prevent further problems.
  • Maintaining space for the unerupted permanent teeth wherever needed.
  • Depending on the situation, recommendations may include sedation for your little one to complete their work.

Preventing bottle mouth disease is crucial.

The good news is that bottle mouth disease is entirely preventable. Remember to make certain that your little ones don't sleep with a bottle of milk or juice in their mouths. Water is an excellent alternative.

You can also help reduce the risk of tooth decay by cleaning your child's teeth and gums after every feeding, rinsing pacifiers and toys in clean water, brushing their teeth, and limiting the consumption of sugary or acidic foods and drinks. A nutritious diet, excellent oral hygiene at home, and establishing a solid foundation for good dental health with routine checkups and care help ensure your little one's smile remains healthy and radiant.

At Jeffrey Cahn, DMD, our dedicated staff is committed to providing you and your family with exceptional dental care. We offer a wide range of services, including preventive care, restorative dentistry, and cosmetic treatments. If you're looking for a dental practice that truly cares about your oral health, look no further than us!

Don't hesitate to reach out to our office with any questions or concerns you may have. We're always here to help!