As soon as a child’s first teeth emerge, it can be a good idea to take them to a kid friendly dentist in Vista. Because many children do not get a full set of primary teeth until the age of three, it can be tempting to not schedule a dentist visit until then. The problem with this is primary teeth erupt in stages, so problems can occur with the first teeth long before the final ones break through. It is important to understand baby bottle tooth decay and how it can impact a child.
Baby bottle tooth decay
A condition many people are unaware of, baby bottle tooth decay can occur in children as young as four months and can cause issues later in life.
The American Dental Association recognizes baby bottle tooth decay as cavities or tooth decay in the teeth of infants and toddlers. This condition is also called early childhood caries. Because the primary teeth help ensure the correct eruption of the permanent teeth, proper oral care is crucial even for babies.
While all existing teeth are susceptible to this condition, the upper front teeth are usually the ones affected by baby bottle tooth decay. In most cases, this type of tooth decay is caused by overexposure to drinks containing sugar. When babies are frequently given bottles of juice or other drinks with a higher sugar content, it can erode the soft enamel of the teeth. Babies who drink bottles in bed or are given bottles to quiet them down are at the highest risk for baby bottle tooth decay.
This type of tooth decay can also begin when a mother passes cavity-causing bacteria to a child through her saliva. For example, if a mother licks a pacifier to clean it off or puts a bottle or feeding spoon in her mouth before giving it to a child, bacteria from her mouth can cling to the article and be transferred to the baby.
A kid friendly dentist in Vista should be able to recognize common signs of baby bottle tooth decay. The most visible symptom can be brown or dark spots on the teeth. Those spots are where there are holes in the enamel. Red or swollen gums can also signal tooth decay. Other noticeable signs are related to the child’s behavior. Baby bottle tooth decay can cause pain in the teeth and gums, resulting in a child who is irritable or fussy without other apparent reason.
Dental issues can arise even in young children and infants, and it is important to begin taking children to a kid friendly dentist in Vista even before all their primary teeth have erupted. Since the causes of baby bottle tooth decay can be the result of seemingly harmless everyday actions, taking a child to the dentist at an early age can allow potential issues to be caught and treated before the develop, worsen or cause permanent damage.