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Bottle caries attacks milk teeth. They are white spots and streaks, and over time, dark discoloration on the teeth of an infant or toddler. It is dangerous and requires quick treatment, because it can quickly cover most of the teeth and lead to abnormalities in the eruption of permanent teeth.

Bottle cariesmainly affects infants and young children up to the age of four or five. White spots and streaks at first, then brownish or black discolorations appear on the front teeth (incisors), near the gums and sometimes on the inside, making them difficult to see. Unfortunately, untreated caries spreads quickly from one tooth to the next and over time becomes not only visible, but can lead to many serious consequences. Caries can attack permanent teeth or contribute to premature loss of milk teeth, so that permanent teeth lose their support and can grow crooked when it is time to erupt. This, in turn, means that the resulting malocclusions often require long and tedious treatment.

How is bottle caries formed?

Bottle caries, as the name suggests, is caused by the contact of the tooth surface of an infant or toddler with a bottle. But not only because it can also develop in children who drink from popular non-spill cups. Especially when the toddler drinks sweetened beverages (teas) or in which sugars occur naturally, e.g. juices. They are a great breeding ground for bacteria that produce acid, destroy enamel and cause tooth decay. The likelihood of its development increases when the child drinks a lot at night. This is because the secretion of saliva, which consists of 99% of water, is reduced and it washes constantly and in a way cleans the teeth and mouth. In addition, a child drinks from a bottle much longer than, for example, from an open cup, which is why its milk teeth are also exposed to the negative effects of bacteria for a longer time. In addition, there is often unsystematic oral hygiene, especially of infants and young children, because there is still a belief that milk teeth that fall out anyway can be taken care of less than permanent ones. Some dentists also believe that the development of bottle caries is a matter of genetic predisposition, i.e. the susceptibility of tooth enamel to acids.Regardless of the cause of its formation, doctors agree that the most important thing is prevention.

Prevention of bottle caries

Bottle caries can be prevented by following a few simple rules. First of all, focus on hygiene. Even if the baby has no teeth yet, it is worth washing his gums with a sterile gauze pad soaked in boiled, cooled water. As soon as the first tooth appears, it is worth buying a silicone brush applied to the finger, thanks to which it is easy to clean and at the same time massage swollen gums. Later, you need to get a brush with soft bristles, and about a year you can introduce toothpaste with a fluoride content appropriate to the age. Older children should be taught to brush their teeth twice a day, preferably for about two minutes, because then the probability of removing plaque that promotes the growth of bacteria increases. You should also teach your toddler that after brushing in the evening, you can no longer eat, especially products with added sugar, and the only drink allowed is still water. In addition, it supports the action of saliva and rinses the mouth. Adults should also remember to avoid licking the nipple or bottle, and not kiss the baby on the mouth, because this is the easiest way to pass bacteria from the mouth to the baby. Prophylaxis also includes visits to the dentist for the child, preferably once every six months, because it is the dentist who is able to quickly notice the first, even the smallest, carious changes on the teeth.

Treatment of bottle caries

In the case of bottle caries, the treatment depends on its severity. If the changes are small, it is enough to fluoridate the teeth, if there are darker discolorations, impregnate them with silver nitrate. Some dentists also recommend treating sick teeth or even removing them, but this carries a risk of subsequent malocclusion.

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