It is never too soon to begin looking after your infant’s teeth, and starting early can pay dividends right throughout their lifetime. Even very young children can get tooth decay, something that is often referred to as being baby bottle tooth decay, and this is something that we do see amongst very young patients visiting Leeds City Dentalcare. This can happen if an infant is given a sweet liquid last thing at night in a bedtime bottle, and can include formula, milk or fruit juice, or anything that contains natural sugars and which can cling to their teeth for a long time. This can also be a problem if they are given dummies that have been dipped into syrup or other sugary drinks.
Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Put Your Child to Bed with a Sugary Drink
Everyone’s mouth contains a certain amount of saliva and this has a naturally protective effect as it helps to wash away sugars and plaque bacteria, keeping the mouth clean and fresh. Saliva also helps to keep the mouth less acidic and at a neutral pH. However during the night-time saliva production tends to slow, leading to the mouth becoming drier. If your child goes to bed with a sugary drink then the sugars will coat their teeth, providing the perfect food for plaque bacteria. The numbers of bacteria tend to rise overnight due to the decreasing the flow of saliva, and they’ll have plenty of time to feed on the sugars on the teeth, increasing the acidity of the mouth. This acidity helps to weaken the tooth enamel, increasing the likelihood of tooth decay and cavities. Baby bottle tooth decay typically affects the front teeth, although it can occur in any of the teeth. If you want to put your child to bed with a drink then plain water is best.
It’s Important to Preserve the Baby Teeth
It’s all too easy to think that your child’s baby teeth are not particularly important, as after all they’ll be replaced with their permanent teeth within just a few years. However these baby teeth have an important role to play in the development of your child. Young children find it much easier to learn to talk properly and clearly when they have teeth, and they also find it much easier to eat a wider range of foods which can help improve their overall nutrition, allowing them to grow and develop normally. These primary teeth also act as placeholders for the adult teeth, ensuring they develop normally and increasing the chances that they will come through nice and straight. If your child loses these teeth too early on then the chances of them developing a speech impediment or having crooked adult teeth are increased.
Leeds City Dentalcare Can Help You to Look after Your Children’s Teeth
Our Leeds surgery can give you a lot of helpful advice on how to look after your child’s mouth, especially once their first tooth erupts. Our dental in Leeds can show you how to brush their teeth correctly, and how to floss in between each tooth. We can also advise you on whether or not you should use fluoride toothpaste or other fluoride supplements to help prevent cavities. Some children may be more at risk than others of developing cavities as sometimes the grooves and fissures on the baby teeth can be very deep and difficult to keep clean. In this case it may be advisable to have some of the teeth protected with dental sealants to help keep them free from disease.