Congratulations on your new bundle of joy, the ups and downs of your pregnancy has all been worth it and now you have a little one to share your life with. As parents you are expected to know how to care for your baby – but babies don’t come with an instruction manual. And even if this isn’t your first child, you may be trying to handle a larger family.There are many help books and how to website out there for new parents but as dental professionals we want to focus on the oral health of your child. You may or may not be aware but children can develop early childhood cavities, it is also known as baby bottle tooth decay. Cavities are holes that develop in the teeth once they begin to decay. Infants and toddlers suffer from tooth decay when bacteria that feeds on the sugar from juice and milk turn into acids and the acids decay the teeth. This often occurs when babies or toddlers are regularly put to sleep with a bottle of milk or juice, and it can also happen to young children who use feeding cups filled with drinks that are high in sugar.
Just remember, that if you are breast feeding or bottle feeding:
• Do not put an infant to bed with a bottle or allow them to use it during their sleep or nap time
• Use cooled, boiled water if a child needs a bottle for comfort or extra fluid before bed
• Introduce your baby to a feeding cup between 6 and 8 months of age
• Do not fill a bottle or a feeding cup with fruit juice, sweetened milk, and soft drink as these are common contributing factor to early childhood tooth decay
Infants should start seeing their family dentist as soon as their first baby teeth start to come in at around 6 months.With regular visits to the dentist, proper oral hygiene, and new drinking habits it is possible to prevent early childhood tooth decay.