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As parents, we always seem to hear about some new health hazard our kids might face. It is hard sometimes to know fact from fiction. One of the things you may have heard about is baby bottle tooth decay. And although it might sound a little contrived, tooth decay in babies and toddlers is actually surprisingly common.

Teeth can begin to decay as soon as they erupt and are exposed to acids. Other than those coming directly from the diet, acid usually comes from bacteria in the mouth. These feed on sugars left there from foods and drinks. To help prevent tooth decay in your toddler, limit his or her exposure to sugary drinks, and never give juice in a bottle. In addition, don’t let your child sleep with a bottle, if at all possible.

Acid-producing bacteria can be passed from caregiver to baby through saliva. This often happens if they are sharing a spoon, or if the caregiver cleans a pacifier with his or her mouth. Always use a clean pacifier; never dip it in sugar or honey.

The most important thing you can do for your child’s oral health is to maintain his or her oral hygiene. This means brushing teeth as soon as they are visible, and flossing them as soon as two touch. Usually kids can start doing this unsupervised the time they are 6 or 7.

To learn more about how to best ensure your child’s oral health or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Asha Kinra, please call Great Lakes Family Dental at our Jackson, MI, office today.