Bottle Decay and Thumb Sucking: Two Pediatric Dentistry Issues Defined

Being a parent is both enjoyable and exhausting. However, during those moments of exhaust and complete and utter defeat, it can feel like you’ll do anything to help console an upset child and make them feel better. And although things like giving your child a bottle or allowing them to suck their thumb doesn’t make you anywhere close to a bad parent, after your child starts to sprout teeth, these two methods can cause more dental problems than good.

Baby Bottle Decay

Giving your child a bottle before bed is a great way to soothe them to sleep but after they turn about two years old and they have a mouth full of teeth, that baby bottle is more of a nuisance than anything. By allowing the bottle of milk or juice to rest on their teeth as they sleep, it can cause cavities and tooth decay. Additionally, because your child’s saliva production is slowed down while they are sleeping, the sugars will stay on their teeth for even longer.

Although allowing your child to sleep with their bottle every once in awhile won’t cause any real harm, doing so everyday could cause cavities and a trip to the dentist that you just don’t want to have to take. As a way to wean your child from their bottle, try filling the bottle with water instead of a sugary drink like milk or juice.

Thumb Sucking

Thumb sucking is a self-soothing mechanism that can start in the womb and continue well into toddlerhood. Although thumb sucking is fine for your child to do before they get teeth, as they develop teeth and get older, thumb socking can put pressure on the child’s upper palate and cause their teeth to move forward. This could result in things like misaligned teeth later on or even in some cases, a speech impediment.

To help to wean off of thumb sucking, try to give them something else to soothe them when they are sleeping or upset, like a stuffed animal or toy.

To learn more about pediatric dental care, contact Dr. Janice Scott today!



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