3. What is baby tooth decay?
Frequent and long-term exposure of a child's teeth to sugary liquids is how the AGD describes baby tooth decay, also commonly called baby bottle tooth decay. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), numerous liquids can cause tooth decay if a child is allowed to hold a bottle, cup, or box of juice in his mouth throughout the day. The AAP emphasizes that it's not just what's in your child's bottle or cup, but how often and for how long your little one is drinking the liquid.
4. What liquids cause baby tooth decay?
Milk, formula, fruit juice, soda, and other sweetened drinks can cause decay. According to the AGD, "Sugars in these liquids pool around the infant's teeth and gums, feeding the bacteria that cause plaque. Every time a child consumes a sugary liquid, acid attacks the teeth and gums. After numerous attacks, tooth decay can begin."
5. Can breastfed babies get tooth decay as well?
Yes, according to the AGD. "Breastfed infants who have prolonged feeding habits or children whose pacifiers are frequently dipped in honey, sugar, or syrup [may be at risk]. The sweet fluids left in the mouth increase the chances of cavities while the infant is sleeping."
6. What are the best liquids for children to drink to prevent tooth decay?
"Unsweetened fruit juices and water are always the best for children to help promote oral and overall health," explains Dr. Sherwood.
7. Why is it important to fix decayed baby teeth?
"It's important to fix decayed baby teeth so the surrounding teeth don't become infected. Cavities that are not fixed can lead to painful abscesses and early tooth loss, as well as the loss of spacing needed to be reserved for the incoming permanent teeth," says AGD spokesperson Dr. Cindy Bauer, DDS, MAGD. Children can also develop poor eating habits, speech problems, crooked teeth, and damaged adult teeth.