New parents always have an infinite amount of worries when entering into parenthood. There’s a tiny human to look after and making sure they are well taken care of is a constant concern. But there is one issue that is generally overlooked but should not be – a baby’s oral health. Because there are no teeth present when born thinking about looking after them can easily be missed, but care for your child’s non-existent teeth is necessary to ensure their future teeth are strong and healthy. Babies are going to need their tiny teeth to chew and smile adorably. They may not stick around long, but their baby teeth are placeholders for adult teeth so keeping them healthy will make the second set healthy as well. And because their food is mainly in liquid form, the biggest threat at this stage is baby bottle tooth decay.

Baby bottle tooth decay occurs when sweet liquids, anything from juice to formula, linger around in their mouth for too long. Naptime with a bottle of formula, and a pacifier dipped in some sugary syrup, both allow bad bacteria naturally in your child’s mouth to thrive off of the sugars they crave. This stagnation causes the teeth to decay and become much more prone to infection as the remaining teeth present themselves. As your child sleeps, their saliva production decreases, so giving them sugary liquids, like juice or milk, to put them to sleep isn’t the best idea. If the decay has progressed too much, those teeth may need to be extracted. They will eventually fall out, but losing teeth too early can cause issues with speech, eating, or other dental issues going forward.

There are ways to prevent baby bottle tooth decay. If your child uses a pacifier, don’t dip it in anything sweet. If your child needs a bottle to sleep, fill it with water. It won’t be well-received, but it is best. To ween them off the sugary drinks, continue watering down their drink more and more until you are eventually giving them just water. If your child doesn’t have teeth yet, make sure to wipe down their gums with a cloth once they are done eating or drinking. As teeth begin to come in, brush them with a soft-bristled toothbrush without toothpaste. Begin to floss teeth as soon their mouth begins to fill with baby teeth. When the child is 3 ½ years old, make their first dental appointment. Ask questions and reveal any concerns. Your dental professional will be able to give you further instruction to maintain your child’s oral care.

If you need to get your chipped or cracked tooth repaired, contact Tory Hill Dental at 207-929-6626 to schedule an appointment today. Or visit for additional information.