Infant Oral Health: Baby Bottle Tooth Decay, New Teeth, and Thumb Sucking

Baby bottle tooth decay is one problem our Norwalk and Fairfield orthodontist sees in infants who are breastfed or given a bottle of milk or sugary drinks at night. Bacteria and dental plaque create acids that deteriorate tooth enamel even before the teeth erupt. If your infant sleeps through the night but needs something to suck on, a pacifier or a bottle of water are the best alternatives.

Concerning Baby’s New Teeth

Primary or baby teeth start erupting around three months of age and are replaced by permanent teeth starting around six years old. They are essential for guiding permanent teeth into the proper positions. If your child is missing primary teeth or starts to lose them early for any reason, schedule a consultation with your Fairfield or Norwalk pediatric dentist to see if a space maintainer or other device can help.

When should my baby have their first dental visit?

When their primary teeth start to come in or by the age of one, whichever comes first.

Overcoming Thumb Sucking

Thumb sucking is a normal and natural comfort reflex in babies and toddlers. Many children stop this between two and four years old. However, continuing beyond the age of four can impair primary tooth eruption, leading to misalignment and improper growth. You can encourage your child to stop by consulting with your dentist and:

  • Offering praise when he or she doesn’t thumb suck, especially during difficult times;
  • Reducing and eliminating causes of stress and anxiety; and
  • Covering the thumb with a bandage or sock at night.