Baby Bottle Tooth Decay: When Should I Worry?

April 2016

Viewing posts from April , 2016

Baby Bottle Tooth Decay: When Should I Worry?

Many children use a bottle well after their first teeth have emerged. Though most children will start solid food around 6 months of age, they are still dependent on formula or breast milk to get all their nutrients for quite a while longer.

There is no denying that getting vitamins from the bottle is an essential part of many children’s development. However, parents should be aware of a phenomenon commonly referred to as baby bottle tooth decay, or early childhood caries. Taking the proper precautions can ensure your child’s teeth will be safe.

What Is Bottle Tooth Decay?

If a child’s teeth are exposed to sugary drinks for an extended period of time, there is a concern that the teeth will be damaged. Formula and breast milk are generally considered to be safe; the main concern is if there is a fruit juice or soft drink in the bottle. The sugars in these drinks can sit on the teeth, enabling cavities to start to form. Our Charlotte dentists often see this issue when children are put to bed with a bottle that contains juice.

Another way that infant’s and toddler’s teeth could suffer damage is if saliva is passed from the parent to the child through the bottle or a pacifier. A parent may lick a pacifier or a feeding spoon in an effort to clean it. However, this can introduce cavity-causing bacteria into the child’s mouth.

Prevent Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Based on the above causes of baby bottle tooth decay, some of the best ways to prevent the issue are to avoid sharing saliva and to keep juice and sugary drinks out of infants’ bottles. The American Dental Association also offers the following tips:

  • Be sure to brush a child’s teeth as soon as they emerge.
  • Do not put infants to sleep with a bottle.
  • Try to encourage a child to drink from a cup starting around age 1.
  • Emphasize healthy eating habits at home.

The ADA recommends using a toothpaste with fluoride even with infants. Only a small smear the size of a grain of rice should be used until the child is 3 years old. If you have questions regarding the type of toothpaste or how to properly care for your child’s teeth, please do not hesitate to ask us.

Children can begin seeing a dentist as soon as their first tooth emerges. This enables us to share with parents the best ways to care for baby teeth and prevent issues from developing. Call us today at (704) 540-4252 to schedule an appointment today.

What You Should Know About Dry Mouth

Waking up in the middle of the night thirsty is one thing, but dry mouth – also known as xerostomia – is quite another. This condition can occur for a variety of reasons. Nailing down the cause is an essential part of finding the right treatment. If you think you may suffer from dry mouth, read on to learn more.

Symptoms

If you have been experiencing frequent thirst accompanied by a dry, even sticky feeling in your mouth, you may have xerostomia. Other common symptoms include the following:

  • A tongue that is red, raw or dry
  • Dryness in the throat
  • Sores in the mouth or at the corners of the mouth
  • Dry and cracked lips
  • Tingling or burning on the tongue or in the mouth

Someone with xerostomia may also have difficulty speaking, chewing, swallowing or even tasting food. Bad breath is another symptom of the condition.

Causes

Ordinarily, you produce a certain amount of saliva to keep your mouth moisturized. If you have dry mouth, you are not producing enough saliva. This is a major issue because saliva is one of the best defenses you have when it comes to tooth decay. It also fights off disease in your mouth.

If you approach our Charlotte dentist with symptoms related to dry mouth, we will try to determine why your saliva flow is subpar. One of the most common reasons is that you are taking a medication that has a side effect of dry mouth. Both prescription and nonprescription drugs can have this effect. Medications used for pain, allergies, depression, acne, epilepsy, hypertension and even asthma could trigger dry mouth.

Another cause is that there is an underlying medical condition, such as diabetes, anemia, stroke, rheumatoid arthritis or mumps. Or, if you have recently had some type of medical treatment, like chemotherapy or radiation, you may develop dry mouth.

This is why it is so important to discuss your medical history with your dentist. If we can determine that a medication or medical condition is causing the dry mouth, we can better develop a comprehensive solution.

Lastly, your lifestyle choices could lead to dry mouth. People who smoke or use chewing tobacco may be at an increased risk of developing the issue. These behaviors can affect how much saliva you make or enhance a condition that is causing dry mouth.

Treatment

The treatment for your dry mouth will largely depend on the cause. For example, if it is a medication, your doctor could end up switching prescriptions or placing you on a lower dose. There are also at-home remedies, such as drinking plenty of water, breathing through your nose instead of your mouth and using a vaporizer in your bedroom to increase the moisture in the air.

If you suspect you have dry mouth, please contact us so we can help you find some comfort.

Should My Child Wear a Mouth Guard

Now that warm weather is here, many people will be heading outside to enjoy the sunshine. For many, that means watching children’s sporting events or simply taking the kids to the park. No matter what the activity may be, there could be a threat to your child’s mouth – especially when the child is playing a contact sport.

No matter if the child has permanent or baby teeth, it is important to protect his or her mouth. Using a mouth guard may be the right option.

What Is a Mouth Guard?

True to its name, a mouth guard is a device that protects the mouth – the teeth, tongue, lips and gums. It looks similar to the mouth itself, as it is worn inside. Most guards will cover the upper teeth. If someone suffers a hit to the face, the guard will cushion that blow, minimizing the risk of the following:

  • Broken teeth
  • Jaw injuries
  • Lacerations

The reason these devices often cover the top teeth is because they are more exposed. Through protecting those, you can prevent an incident like teeth going through lips or biting the tongue.

Who Should Wear One?

The American Dental Association states that a mouth guard should be considered an essential piece of equipment for anyone who plays a contact sport. Just as you would put your kid in pads for football or shin guards for soccer, he or she should also have a mouth guard in.

Children who play non-contact sports can also benefit. For example, a gymnast could slip and hit his or her mouth on the beam. Therefore, you may want to consider a guard no matter what type of activity your child enjoys.

Types of Guards

Once you decide that your child should have a mouth guard in place, there are several different models you could choose. The first is a stock device that could be found at a sporting goods store. These are the most affordable option, though it may be difficult to find one that fits your child’s mouth.

There are also guards that can be molded to fit your child’s mouth. Many sports stores sell these “boil and bite” options that are softened in water and then placed in the mouth to adapt to the shape.

Lastly, there are custom-made options that your Charlotte dentist could make for your child. These will be the best fit and it gives you the opportunity to ask a professional questions about when and how these guards should be worn.