We treat a wide variety of patients and conditions here at our Peterborough family dentistry clinic, from the very young to the very old. However, perhaps one of the most unfortunate conditions we occasionally must treat is called baby bottle syndrome. It’s one of the most severe threats to an infant’s teeth we deal with, and it’s one that’s totally preventable.
If you have a young child who is still using baby bottles or pacifiers, we urge you to be extremely careful in when and how you give them to your child.
A Peterborough Family Dentistry Clinic Explains: What Is Baby Bottle Syndrome?
Baby bottle syndrome occurs if a child can sleep with a baby bottle in its mouth too often, when that bottle is filled with sweetened fluids such as milk or fruit juice. The sweet fluid pools in their mouth, soaking their barely-developed teeth in sugary substances.
In effect, it’s like allowing a child to suck on candy nonstop for hours at a time. Bacteria in the mouth thrive on sugar, and allowing the child to sleep like this gives them ample opportunity to eat away at their highly-vulnerable teeth. In worse-case scenarios, we’ve seen children whose full set of baby teeth have become completely rotten.
This is also true if you tend to dip your child’s pacifier in sweet substances, such as honey, to make it more appealing to them. While it might encourage them to use their pacifier more in the short term, it can have devastating long-term consequences if done too often.
The Long-Term Effects of Baby Bottle Syndrome
Some might ask, “Is baby bottle syndrome so bad, if they’re going to lose their baby teeth anyway?” The answer is an absolute yes.
A child needs their baby teeth for a variety of reasons, and the healthier those baby teeth are, the more likely their adult teeth will be healthy as well. Having those teeth damaged -or losing them entirely- before their adult teeth are ready to grow in can cause numerous issues. These include:
- Pain and infection
- Difficulty learning to talk
- Difficulty learning to chew solid foods
- Under-developed jaw structure
- Greatly increased chances of crooked adult teeth
The good news, of course, is that this is entirely preventable. The solution is simply to not allow your child to sleep with a bottle in their mouth, and remove it whenever you notice they’ve nodded off while drinking. If they have trouble sleeping without a bottle in their mouth fill it with only pure water.
Your child’s baby teeth are extremely vulnerable. Protecting them during their early years can pay off with an entire lifetime of better adult teeth.
Good Dental Health Begins at An Early Age!
Most dentists recommend a child receive their first dental checkup around the age of one year, and the Peterborough family dentistry clinic of Dr. Christopher Moore and Associates want to encourage this.
Contact us today and inquire about our free initial exam for children under the age of three. Please make sure to reference this blog post as our offer expires as of June 30, 2017.