Phone: 910-778-8485 fax: 910-778-8477

2980 Ray Road Spring Lake NC 28390 Near Overhills Schools

Vincent Vissichelli, DMD

Board Certified Pediatric Dentist

Specializing in the treatment of infants, children, teens and special needs patients

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Baby Your Infant’s Teeth

New parents may not realize the importance of caring for their infant’s baby teeth. It is important to bring your child in for the first dental exam by age 1. Serious tooth decay may develop by the child’s first birthday. Even though the child’s teeth will eventually be replaced with permanent ones, they are critical for proper chewing, speaking, and appearance.
Early Childhood Caries which used to be called – baby bottle tooth decay,  nursing-bottle or nursing –mouth syndrome, is a condition that can destroy the teeth of an infant or young child. It develops when a baby frequent receives a bottle or sippy cup of milk, formula, fruit juice, or sweetened liquids. It may result when the child is allowed to fall asleep with a bottle during naps or at bedtime. Prolonged demand breastfeeding may also cause this condition. Although the teeth most likely to be damaged are the upper front teeth, others may be affected.
Tooth decay is caused by bacteria, which are present in a thin film of plaque that constantly forms on the teeth. The bacteria in plaque use sugar to produce acid, which attacks tooth enamel. If sugary liquid is allowed to remain in the mouth, acid can attack teeth for several minutes. Tooth decay can occur after frequent, repeated acid attacks.
It’s not just what children drink, but how often and for how long their teeth are exposed to decay-causing acids. For example, if you offer a bottle containing sugary liquid as a pacifier many times a day, the teeth experience more acid attacks. Allowing a child to fall asleep with a bottle during a nap or at night also can harm teeth. While the baby sleeps, the flow of saliva decreases. Harmful sugary liquids collect and remain around the teeth, inviting acid attacks.
You can prevent this by watching what you give your baby between regular feedings. A nursing bottle should not be uses as a pacifier or as an aid to help baby sleep unless it contains plain water. Don’t dip pacifiers in a sweet liquid and don’t add sugar to baby’s food to try and make it taste better. Children can be taught to drink from a cup as they approach their firs birthday. This will eliminate prolonged bottle feeding or using a bottle as a pacifier.
Children should receive an optimal amount of fluoride, a mineral needed for the development of decay-resistant teeth. Whether or not you live in a community that has fluoridated water, you should ask your dentist about how your child can get the right amount of fluoride.
We recommend you begin brushing as soon as the baby’s first tooth appears. Ensure that your baby has a healthy diet with limited surgery containing foods and drinks between meals. Visit the dentist by the child’s first birthday.

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