Baby teeth are necessary for chewing, speaking, and smiling. They also serve as placeholders for the adult teeth. If baby bottle tooth decay is left untreated, pain and infection can result. Severely decayed teeth may need to be removed.
If teeth are infected or lost too early due to baby bottle tooth decay, your child may develop poor eating habits, speech problems, crooked teeth, and damaged adult teeth. In addition, the chances that adult teeth will end up being crooked are greatly increased.
Baby bottle caries need to be addressed as soon as possible. To prevent severe infection and loss of deciduous teeth, the pediatric dentist will remove the decay on the tooth and fill it with the filling material. However, the type of treatment will depend upon the extent of the decay and the age of the child.
Baby bottle caries can be prevented by taking the following measures:
- Wipe the baby’s gums with a clean gauze pad or washcloth after each feeding.
- Begin brushing your child’s teeth, without toothpaste, when his or her first tooth comes in.
- Schedule regular dental visits by your child’s first birthday. Dentists also offer special sealant coatings, which can help prevent tooth decay in children.
- Never allow your child to fall asleep with a bottle containing anything but water and never give your child a pacifier dipped in anything sweet.