The most common problem with baby teeth is an issue referred to as Early Childhood Caries. This occurs when a baby’s teeth are in frequent contact with sugary liquids or carbohydrates that break down into sugars, even milk and fruit juices. The simple sugars sit for long periods of time in the mouth. Once this occurs, bacteria begin feeding on the sugars and release acid, leading to tooth decay.
If the teeth are left untreated, the decay can cause significant pain, making it difficult to chew and eat. Since baby teeth are “space savers” for adult teeth, if they are damaged in anyway then they cannot help guide permanent teeth into the correct position. This could result in crowded or crooked permanent teeth, or an infected and painful tooth.
Below are some tips to prevent baby teeth decay:
- When the baby is crying, comfort him or her with water rather than sugary liquids or milk
- Avoid dipping your baby’s pacifier in sugary liquids, honey, or sugar
- At bedtime, give your baby plain water
- Since human breast milk causes decay, use a pacifier or a bottle with water to pacify
- Use a wet cloth to wipe your child’s teeth after feeding
- Teach your baby to drink from a cup by the age of one. A sippy cup reduces the teeth’s exposure to sugars