“Using sweet drinks to comfort a baby can be extremely damaging to the babies teeth”,
says our Solihull Dentist, Dr Zubair Sacranie.
There are some toddlers as young as 18 months old that are now losing baby teeth due to decay which is caused by consuming too many sugary drinks.
Whenever we consume sugar it feeds the acid excreting bacteria in our mouth is, what parents often forget is that just because a manufacturer puts ‘no added sugar’ on the label of their product it doesn’t mean that the product contains no sugar. Sometimes fruit juices can contain as much sugar as Coca-Cola!
It’s also not the quantity of sugar that’s a problem with babies, it’s the amount of time that the sugar stays in contact with the teeth. One of the biggest reasons for this is that very young children often drink using a bottle, this keeps the sugary liquid in contact with the teeth far longer than would normally be expected, this then leads to painful tooth decay, often on teeth that are not yet fully erupted.
Allowing your baby or toddler to fall asleep also exacerbates this effect as saliva production, which is the natural neutraliser for the acid, slows down when we going to sleep. This means that acid in the drink stays more acidic and isn’t neutralised.
It can be extremely tempting to use sugary drinks to comfort a baby or toddler but beware, you may be causing irreparable harm to their teeth. The modern trend of going for organic, no added sugar or natural is causing many parents to mistakenly believe that it is therefore okay to feed babies these sugar containing drinks.
Here are a few tips to help:
- Don’t allow your baby or toddler to fall asleep with a bottle containing milk formula, fruit juices or any other drink containing sugar.
- Substitute sugary drinks for water from the outset, your toddler will then become used to drinking water and not expect the sugary drink.
- Introduce your toddler to a sipping by their first birthday to get rid of the bottle teat which keeps the sugar in contact with the teeth for so long.
- Give water as the drink at mealtimes. Your toddler will then become used to drinking water rather than expecting or learning to like the taste of the sugary drink.
- Your baby oral health routine should start as soon as the first teeth cut through. Use a soft brush and a rice sized amount of child toothpaste in the early stages and then use a pea sized amount child’s toothpaste as their diet becomes more varied and they naturally consume more sugar.
- Bring your child to the dentist when they are between 6 and 12 months old, this will get them used to being at the dentist and we can also offer you any advice about looking after your baby’s teeth.
Do everything you can to get into these habits early on, habits are far easier to form than to break so adopting good habits at the start is certainly the easiest parenting option.
If you would like any more advice about looking after your children’s teeth then please request an appointment at our hygienist and we will be happy to help.