What happened to these teeth!? Why does this little 2-year-old’s teeth look like this? These are cavities, and they are a result of what is called “Baby Bottle Tooth Decay.”
One of the ways cavities can develop is when sweetened liquids or those with natural sugars remain on the teeth for prolonged periods of time like when a child uses a bottle or a sippy cup. Bacteria use this sugar and make acid which clings to the teeth and rots the teeth away. Sleeping with a bottle can be especially bad as the sugars (even the natural sugars from milk) can cling to the teeth all night long.
In order to prevent this from happening, it is important to limit the amount of time a child sips on their bottle or sippy cup. Instead of allowing them to sip on these all day and night long, let them drink from it in one sitting and then clean their teeth – either with a toothbrush or wipe the teeth off with a cloth. As soon as your child’s first tooth comes in, the teeth should be cleaned at least twice daily, especially before bed after the last thing they have to eat or drink. For ultimate cavity protection it is now recommended to use a very small amount – no larger than a grain of rice – of fluoridated toothpaste twice daily as soon as the teeth come in.
Instead of juice or milk in the bottle or sippy cup between meals or at bed or naptimes, choose water.
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