Baby Bottle Tooth Decays

Baby bottle tooth decay commonly seen in our country in early childhood period and it is an infectious disease which is related with malnutrition habits in our community like in many community and may cause serious consequences also, it’s treatment is difficult due to early age.

As in every infectious disease, the cause of dental caries is bacteria. Recently, it is demonstrated that those bacteria are transmitted from mother to the baby in post natal period. If healthy nutrition and proper care is not provided after the eruption of the first tooth, then seeing ‘’Early Period Childhood Decays or with common name Baby Bottle Tooth Decays’’ will be inevitable.

When talking about Baby Bottle Tooth Decays, it is considered only for children who are feeding with baby bottles, however, it is accepted that every children feeding with baby bottles after 1 year old during nights  are under the risk of Early Period Childhood Decays.

How Baby Bottle Decays Occur?

Babies start feeding with solid foods six months later from their birth with the eruption of their first deciduous tooth. However, in this period they also need milk so they continue feeding with milk using baby bottles. Feeding with baby bottle milk especially at nights before sleeping, facilitates sleeping for baby.   Some parents add honey, molasse or sugar inside the milk for increasing nutritional value of milk and for facilitating relaxation of baby. Extra flavours increase the risk of decay formation because there is already a natural sugar inside the milk which is called lactose. If night feeding continues for a long term after the teeth are erupted, this situation may lead common dental caries called ‘baby bottle tooth decays’.

Milk coming from baby bottle accumulates on teeth after sleeping. Flow rate of saliva decreases during sleep so, teeth can not be cleaned and an environment appropriate for existing microorganisms to create acid. Those acids are deteriorating mineral structure of tooth enamel and causes displaying of chalk like white colored stains first, and then formation of yellow – brown colored caries called baby bottle decays. These caries start from frontal surfaces of upper incisor teeth and then spread. They are very common in our country with cases all the deciduous teeth are effected.

Beside night feeding with milk by using baby bottle after 1 year old, breastfeeding during sleep, feeding with fruit juices by using baby bottle, using pacifier submerged to honey or jam also lead early period childhood decays.

What do Baby Bottle Decays Lead?

Harmful effects of bacteria that causes baby bottle tooth decays are transmitted to the nerve of the tooth inside the root and the tooth became infected.  This infection causes for the baby to feel pain, become unease and can not sleep regularly. Additionally, the infection around the root of deciduous tooth harm the developing permanent tooth underneath. Thus, shape and color changes occur on the developing teeth.

Baby bottle tooth decay especially starting from the upper incisor teeth, leads tooth material loss so, this situation causes talking and aesthetic deteriorations for your children. As a result of this situation, children are facing with treatment types that are not ready yet (like root canal treatment, filling, extraction …) and those treatments are very difficult both for the doctor and parents.

How Can Baby Bottle Tooth Decays be Prevented?

  • The baby shouldn’t allowed sleeping with a baby bottle in her/his mouth.
  • After feeding from baby bottle, absolutely he/she should drink water.
  • Teeth should be cleaned by using a wet muslin wrapped around index finger.
  • Night feeding should be ceased after the age of one.
  • The baby should be examined by a dentist regularly after one year old.
  • Instead of carbohydrate weighted nutrition that can be stick on teeth, vegetable and fruit weighted foods with fibers should be preferred.
  • Teeth should be brushed with a small soft bristle brush with the help of parents by using a tooth paste without fluoride because swallowing reflex can not be controlled until the age of 2-3.

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