Your baby was born with 20 primary (baby) teeth in his or her jaws. In fact, they began to form in the second trimester of your pregnancy.
Baby teeth help your baby chew, speak and share a beautiful smile. They also act as placeholders for the permanent teeth gradually developing under the gums.
‘Invisible’ Teeth Can Get Real Cavities!
Baby teeth usually begin to appear between six months and one year after birth. However, just because you usually can’t see those primary teeth right away doesn’t mean cavities can’t develop.
Tooth decay in infants and toddlers is referred to as Baby Bottle Tooth Decay, bottle mouth or early childhood carries. Baby Bottle Tooth Decay has many causes, including:
- Frequent or prolonged exposure to sugary drinks
- Allowing your baby to use a bottle as a pacifier
- Putting your baby to bed with a bottle
- Dipping your baby’s pacifier in sugar or syrup
How to Protect Baby Teeth Before They Appear
1. No bottles in bed.
Milk, breast milk, formula and juice all contain sugars that can lead to Baby Bottle Tooth Decay. Don’t put your child to bed with a bottle. This is especially important once baby teeth begin to appear.
2. Put only breast milk or formula in the bottle.
Beverages like sugar water, juice, sports drinks and soda pop are not healthy options for your infant’s body or teeth. Bottle feed with breast milk or formula only.
3. Wipe your baby’s gums after each feeding.
Help keep the mouth and gums healthy by using a clean, damp washcloth to gently wipe or massage your baby’s gums after each feeding.
4. Talk to your dentist or pediatrician about pacifiers and bottles.
Pacifiers and bottle nipples affect how the muscles of your baby’s mouth develop. Ask a health care professional for recommendations.
5. Don’t share cups or silverware with your baby.
Sharing cups and silverware with your baby not only spreads germs, it also spreads cavity-causing bacteria.
It’s not too early to set an Age 1 Dental Visit for your baby. If you don’t have a family dentist, Mercy Dental Services can help! Request an appointmentonline or call 330-471-5950 for more information.