Did you know that childhood cavities are the most common chronic childhood disease, and are almost entirely preventable? A great place to prevent cavities is in your child’s baby bottle. Follow these steps to help keep your infant cavity-free.
Don’t: Put Sugary Drinks in Your Child’s Baby Bottle
Putting sugary beverages such as fruit juice or sports drinks in your infant’s bottle is not recommended. High amounts of sugar can lead to tooth decay and cause more dental problems as their teeth begin to appear. Cavities in baby teeth can also cause complications in new adult teeth.
Do: Wipe out Their Mouth after Meals
With a damp, clean cloth, wipe out your child’s mouth 15 minutes after each meal – liquid or solid. Doing so keeps their mouth free of sugar and debris that can lead to cavities.
Don’t: Send Them to Bed with a Bottle
While a bedtime bottle may comfort your infant, it can be very destructive for their gums and developing teeth. When left in your children’s mouth, sugar from breast milk, formula and milk can lead to infection and pain. Try to establish a bedtime routine that doesn’t involve a baby bottle. Once the teeth erupt, you will want to give your child a bottle, brush the teeth, and then put your child to bed. It will make this transition easier if your child isn't used to going to bed with a bottle.
DO: Heat Their Bottle in a Pot of Warm Water
Don’t: Heat Their Bottle in the Microwave
Microwaves are convenient and quick, but they shouldn’t be used to heat a bottle full of formula. Not only does a microwave heat formula unevenly, it can get formula too hot to drink. Additionally, the extreme heat from microwaves can damage and wear plastic baby bottles.
Don’t: Let Them Walk around with Their Baby Bottle
As your child begins walking, they’ll also begin falling, which is why you shouldn’t let newly mobile children walk with their bottle. Did you know that every 4 hours a child in America visits the hospital because a facial injury as a result of falling while holding a bottle? You can avoid this by not giving them a walking around bottle.
Do: Teach them to Drink from Lidless Cups
You should begin weaning your child off of their bottle around the time that they begin walking – typically ages 12 – 18 months. A good way to do this is by transitioning to a sippy cup or 360 cup, or by letting them drink from lidless cups at meal time. Fill the cup with water in between meals, or milk at a mealtime. Avoid placing juice in these cups, as it coats the teeth with sugar and causes a lot of cavities. Do not let your child drink milk from the cup after brushing at night. Introducing them to adult cups at an early age will help them rely less upon the bottle, and diminish the likelihood of them sustaining an injury as a result of walking with a baby bottle.
Check up on Cavities Every Six Months
The best way to prevent childhood tooth decay is by establishing a dental home for your child before their first birthday. Familiarizing them with a pediatric dentist early on will help your child get more comfortable visiting the dentist and keeping their mouths clean. After finding a dental home, visit the pediatric dentist every six months to make sure that their mouths are staying clean!