Understanding Baby Bottle Decay Issues

If you have a young baby that is under 12 months old, then you have probably noticed many of the first teeth coming in. And, if you are attentive to your child's health, then you may be making the necessary appointments to ensure that the teeth are free of decay. However, if you notice small white spots showing up on the teeth, your child does have a decay issue that is starting to develop. This is a common issue especially if you let your child nap or sleep at night with a baby bottle in the mouth. Keep reading to learn about this issue and how it can be treated.

What Is Baby Bottle Decay?

Baby bottle decay is the name of the type of decay that forms when a child falls asleep with a bottle in their mouth. When this happens, the saliva does not have the opportunity to naturally rinse away the sugars from the breast milk or formula. The sugars remain in the mouth and feed the bacteria that live in the oral cavity. The bacteria are active all night or the entire time your baby is sleeping and they can eat away at the dental enamel without interruption. 

When the enamel is eaten away, this creates demineralization, and when the minerals are released, white spots appear on the teeth. Oftentimes, the spots appear chalky and the teeth start to lose their shiny appearance. This flat appearance is one indication that demineralization has occurred and that the teeth have not simply hypermineralized.

Once the white spots appear, the teeth are at a greater risk of developing full cavities. And this is something that your child's dentist will need to look closely for. 

How Is Baby Bottle Decay Treated?

The first step in stopping your child's teeth from becoming fully decayed is to stop the habits that have lead to the decay issue in the first place. In other words, you need to stop giving your child a bottle to sleep with. Also, you should minimize the number of acidic substances that your child consumes to limit the amount of enamel that is worn away. This means avoiding citrus foods and juices.

In addition to feeding and habit changes, your dentist should talk to you about the use of fluoride treatments. The fluoride can help with remineralization of the enamel. Keep in mind that fluoride is often not suggested for babies and young children. This is due to toxicity risks, so make sure that all treatments are provided with the supervision of your general dentistry practitioner.