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Even though they are temporary, your child’s primary (baby) teeth are incredibly important. In addition to facilitating eating activities and assisting in speech development, they act as placeholders for the permanent teeth when they come in. It is therefore quite important to keep baby teeth healthy throughout their lifetime. One threat to healthy baby teeth is early tooth decay.

Tooth decay in infants and toddlers is sometimes called baby bottle tooth decay because a common cause is prolonged exposure to sugary drinks, often from a bottle. So it is good to limit your child’s consumption of such drinks. Never put them in bottles. In addition, any naptime or bedtime bottles should be taken before going to bed. Drinks, even formula, that are left in the mouth for a long time provide a great place for bacteria to thrive.

Speaking of bacteria, bacteria that can cause tooth decay are often passed inadvertently from the caregiver to the child. It can be transferred through saliva if a spoon is shared or if a pacifier is cleaned in a caregiver’s mouth.

The best way to prevent tooth decay in any person is for that person to have great oral hygiene. It is important to facilitate or supervise your child’s oral hygiene until he or she is old enough to reliably do it alone, typically not until age 6 or 7.

For more information about caring for your child’s teeth or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Charles Anonye, please call Heritage Dental in York, PA, today. We are anxious to meet you and work toward great oral health for your child.