If your child drinks formula milk, you need to be aware of baby bottle tooth decay. Read about one TAP Mom’s experience here.
What can you read in this article?
- The usual signs she noticed on her baby’s teeth
- How to prevent baby bottle tooth decay
Hey Moms! Keiki here. I am a mother of two living in the Summer Capital of the Philippines. I have two kids, Kian and Kali, who are roughly a year apart.
Kian, my eldest, was born when I was still taking up my Master’s Degree in Public Health and because of that, it was a struggle to keep breastfeeding since there were times when I had to be in a different province than him because of school.
His teeth started erupting when he was just 5 months old, and I could feel him starting to bite me whenever he would latch on to me. I exclusively breastfed Kian for 6 months through direct latch and bottle-feeding my expressed milk when I was away for school.
Once he reached his half-year milestone, we decided to switch him to formula milk for the convenience of everybody.
Noticing something unusual on baby’s teeth
As his teeth came out and more teeth were erupting, brushing has always been part of our bedtime routine. When I did my research about baby tooth-brushing and how to do it properly, most sources would say to stick to a fluoride-free toothpaste so that it wouldn’t upset baby tummies; so that is what I stuck to.
Everything was great. Kian’s teeth wear sparkling, and white. Everybody loves his perfect smile; I felt proud that his teeth were in tip-top shape.
It wasn’t until a little after his second birthday that I started to notice that there were faint stains on his two front upper teeth. It seemed that they were there, but really faint to actually see it if you didn’t stare and observe his smile. Later on, I also noticed that dents were forming where the stains were as well.
I had an idea of what was happening because I tend to read a lot of mom blogs and hang around online mom communities; it was because of his formula milk.
But why? I brush his teeth every day. We keep candies to a minimum. What was I doing wrong?
Kian’s first visit to the dentist
As the weeks when by, it seemed to be getting worse – the stains were getting darker compared to the faint color it started from.So we decided to visit a dentist.
The dentist did his initial check-up with Kian and confirmed what I was thinking. It was indeed because of his formula milk. It was an early indication of baby bottle tooth decay. The sugar in formula milk is high compared to breast milk that it is able to “eat” up the teeth as is.
During our first dental visit, we only had the initial check-up to diagnose, get to know the dentist, and plan for our next steps. We then planned to come back after another week and have intervention done like cleaning, and if needed (and Kian agreed), we would have to put in fillings to repair the damage.
After a week, we returned to the dentist and they had a more thorough check-up, and since Kian had already been here, he was even more willing to have his teeth check out for a longer period of time.
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How to prevent baby bottle tooth decay
So, after checking again, the dentist said that fillings wouldn’t be needed and that we could just maintain the damage that was done (but not reverse) by switching to a fluoride-based toothpaste from now on and by ALWAYS wiping down Kian’s teeth after drinking formula milk.
Although there were stains, there were just superficial, so this meant that his teeth were still good, but there was indeed a stain. She said that we could try removing the stain by using a baking soda + toothpaste mixture to “lift” off the stain.
Now, as maintenance and prevention, Kian drinks his formula milk from a cup. After every drink, we always make wipe down his teeth with a damp cloth to remove any formula milk residue (or he brushes) and drinks water.
We still brush two times a day- morning and night. Every now and then we apply the baking soda + toothpaste mixture to his teeth to help remove the stain.
Although the damage has been done, we are ever so grateful that it didn’t end up to having fillings put in (because we wouldn’t want Kian to have to experience that at such a young age) and that his teeth weren’t totally damaged.
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