Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Preventing Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Although your child won’t have their baby teeth for their whole life, they can still develop cavities and should be cared for as if they are their permanent teeth. It’s not always easy to brush a toddler’s teeth, but there are plenty of other steps you can take to help prevent early tooth decay. Below, we take a closer look at tooth decay in infants and toddlers, and how you can help protect their teeth as they grow.

Causes of Baby Tooth Decay

Tooth decay in infants, oftentimes referred to as baby bottle tooth decay, can be caused by a number of different issues. A lot of times parents don’t even realize they are potentially exposing their child’s teeth to sources of decay, which is why it’s important that we point out some of the more common causes. Those causes can include:

  • Prolonged or regular exposure to drinks that contain sugar, like juice.
  • Using a bottle as a pacifier for a fussy baby, or letting a child sleep with a bottle.
  • The passing of saliva from parent to child. For example, if the parent cleans a pacifier or spoon with their mouth then gives it to the child, decay-causing bacteria can enter their mouth.

Infants and toddlers also don’t receive enough fluoride from sources like water in order to fully protect their teeth from decay, so it’s important that you take steps to help prevent an abundance of sugars or bacteria from entering their mouth.

Preventing Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Preventing baby bottle tooth decay comes down to knowing what can lead to tooth decay and making a plan to stay ahead of the problem. For starters, clean spoons, pacifiers or other items that may end up in your child’s mouth with water or a wet wipe. Stick to formula, milk or breast milk in bottles so kids aren’t regularly sipping on juice or other sugary liquids, and avoid sending them to bed or pacifying a tantrum with a bottle. Other tips include:

  • Have your child get regular dental exams, beginning around the age of one.
  • When teeth come in, brush them gently with a tiny smear of toothpaste until around the age of three.
  • Increase the amount of toothpaste they get to a pea-sized portion at the age of three until they’re six.
  • Limit sugary snacks, and strive for healthy eating habits.

In order to have healthy teeth for life, children need to start early with the help of their parents, so be proactive about protecting their teeth. To set up their next dentist appointment, or if you have questions about brushing at a certain age, reach out to Dr. Brooks’ office today.

Diet Teeth

Eat Your Way To A Healthier Smile

Caring for your teeth involves more than just brushing your teeth and flossing. Our diet also plays a critical role in the overall health of our teeth, and although you can’t exactly eat your way to a healthy smile like the title suggests, there are some diet do’s and don’ts you should consider when eating. Today, we take a look at five ways to protect your smile through your food choices.

Limit Sugary Sweets

Sugar is the natural enemy of your teeth, as it can lead to enamel breakdown and cavities. Avoid sugary sweets like candies, cookies, chocolate and donuts, or at least eat them in moderation and consider drinking water while eating to help keep these sugars from hanging on your teeth longer than needed.

Balanced Diet

A healthy diet involves plenty of vegetables, beans, whole grains and fruits, as these options provide your body with essential vitamins and minerals. These nutrients are great for your whole body, as well as your teeth and gums. Calcium from dairy products also helps to keep your teeth strong. If you’re not getting enough from your diet, ask your dentist about supplements.

Limit Sticky Foods

Sticky foods take longer to be broken down by saliva, so they stay on your teeth longer, causing damage all the while. Foods like honey, molasses, raisins, gummies and syrup should be eaten sparingly and ideally with a meal, as this will help keep more of the food from sticking to your teeth.

Beware of Acidic Options

Fruits may seem like a great snack option, and while they are certainly healthier than potato chips or pretzels, some fruits are high in acidity and natural sugars. Like some of the other options listed above, they are best eaten in combination with a meal or with water to limit how much and how long fruit acid is exposed to the teeth. Same goes for fruit juices.

Beverage Choices

Our beverages of choice can oftentimes do more damage than the foods we eat, so make sure you’re making good choices when it comes to your drinking habits. Alcohol can damage your gums, coffee can stain your teeth and soda can expose your teeth to excess sugar, so drink all these beverages in moderation. When possible, sub in water for any of the above drinks, especially after athletic activity when you’re simply looking to rehydrate.

For more information on how our dietary choices can affect our dental health, or to set up your next dental appointment, reach out to Dr. Brooks at Smiles for Life Dental today.

Sparkling Water Teeth

Sparkling Water and Your Teeth

Carbonated water is a little more popular over in Europe than it is in America, but more and more people are reaching for sparkling water in lieu of plain old tap water. You might think that water is water, and that they are all the same when it comes to your oral health, but is that true? We put that theory to the test by looking at the effects of sparkling water on your teeth in today’s blog.

Does Carbonated Water Affect Your Teeth?

Even though it’s water, any drink with carbonation has a higher acid concentration. Does this mean sparking water can wear down your protective tooth enamel? According to recent research, dental professionals seem to believe that the differences between sparkling water and regular water on your teeth are minimal.

For their study, researchers used teeth that were donated to science and compared their composition after having been exposed to regular water and sparkling water. They found that although sparkling water has a higher acid level, the effects on tooth enamel were essentially the same.

Things to Keep in Mind

With that said, you should still keep some things in mind when it comes to choosing beverage options like sparkling water.

  • Sparkling water is definitely better for your teeth than sugary sodas, but also make sure to get plenty of regular water as well. Regular water contains fluoride, which helps to prevent cavities and keep your mouth from becoming dry.
  • Avoid sparkling water that is overly citrusy. These drinks often have elevated acid levels which can impact your tooth enamel. They are fine on occasion or with meals, but try to avoid sipping on them throughout the workday or more than once a day.
  • Keep an eye on added sugar. Some companies tout their beverage as sparkling water, even though it has added sugars and is carbonated. Don’t be fooled by the name – these can be just as bad as regular sodas. Go for regular water, but if you’re craving a sparkling water, be sure that it has no added sugars.

At the end of the day, sparkling sodas are far from the worst beverage option for your teeth, but that doesn’t mean it should always replace regular water when you’re thirsty. If you’re going to have one, have it with a meal and don’t slowly sip on it throughout the day. And no matter what beverages you drink, always be sure to brush your teeth in the morning and at night.

For more information about sparkling water or any other beverages and your teeth, reach out to Dr. Brooks today.