There is an oral condition that affects older babies and toddlers. It is called "bottle mouth," and it is very serious. This happens when a baby is put to bed with a bottle or sippy cup every night of the week. The milk, formula or juice causes the baby's or toddler's teeth to rot and discolor. It is treatable, but not curable. Here is how your family dentist usually handles this issue.
Stop Putting the Child to Bed with a Bottle/Sippy Cup
The first thing your dentist will tell you to do is put your child to bed without a bottle or sippy cup. This may be difficult to do the first few nights, but eventually children learn to self-soothe without something in their mouths. They may even switch to a thumb or pacifier, which is easier to correct with orthodontics later on. You have to do this if you do not want all of your child's teeth to rot and fall out before the teeth are ready to do so.
Kids under the age of two generally should not be exposed to fluoride, as it can hinder their growth and development. However, if your child's teeth are especially bad, the dentist may deem it necessary to brush on a fluoride treatment that needs to stay on for a couple of hours. After that, you may brush your child's teeth as usual. No food or drink is allowed during this time either.
Seal the Teeth
The next thing your dentist will attempt to do is apply a dental varnish or sealant to keep your child's teeth from rotting and dying altogether. Like the fluoride treatments, the sealant or varnish cannot come into contact with food or drink for a couple of hours in order to be effective. Not even bottle-fed babies can have anything to drink during this time, so make sure your baby or toddler has had something to eat or drink prior to the appointment.
Keep the Teeth in the Mouth
Unless the teeth are so badly damaged that your child may need a root canal to rescue the teeth, your dentist will insist that these teeth remain in your child's mouth. The baby teeth act as placeholders for permanent teeth, and if your dentist removes them, there could be multiple complications when the adult teeth try to break through later. A dentist will only pull a baby tooth if it is dead or if it is actually causing a serious and painful infection in your child's mouth.
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