Decayed Teeth-Bottle Caries!
Many children who are put to bed with a bottle containing milk, juice or other sugary liquids are at risk of a type of tooth decay called bottle caries. Some signs of bottle caries include the appearance of brown teeth with fragmented edges & upper front teeth that break easily.
When a child falls asleep with a bottle in his mouth, the liquid pools around the upper teeth. During sleep, the mouth produces less saliva & there is not enough to flush out any liquid or sugar remaining on the teeth. This creates an ideal environment for bacteria to grow, which in turn reacts with the sugar in the liquid to from an acid that eats the tooth enamel & causes decay.
The best way to help prevent decay is to remove the bottle & wipe the child’s gums & teeth with a soft cloth before putting the child to bed. Also, children should receive a dental examination at no later than 18 months.
Although fluoride, regular brushing & flossing lower the chance of developing cavities, these methods are not fully effective at reaching the most decay-prone areas of the teeth. The grooves & depressions on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth are still left susceptible to decay-causing bacteria & should be painted with a plastic-like coating called a sealant to prevent cavities from forming in this area.
Since sealant application is simple, fast & painless & studies have shown that sealants can reduce tooth decay by as much as 90% to 100%, the American Dental Association recommends applying them to each adult back tooth as soon as it comes in. At around six or seven-years-old, the first adult back teeth erupt & all are usually present & should be sealed, by age 13.
Please call our office with any questions about the benefits of using sealants to prevent decay.
Prevent Tooth Decay
Fluoride is a key ingredient to preventing tooth decay. Some local water systems do contain fluoride but may not contain enough to be effective in preventing decay. (You may call your local water district to determine whether or not your water contains fluoride.) In this case, or in the case your water is not fluoridated at all, fluoride supplements are necessary to provide you with the proper dose of fluoride needed to reduce dental decay.
Children should receive a dental examination at no later than 36 months & if fluoride supplements are necessary, they should be administered shortly after birth until around the age of 12, when the second permanent molars erupt.
Please call our office with any questions, or if you need more information.