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How to prevent bottle tooth decay in children

By Stella Naigino

Added 12th October 2017 03:27 PM

Kitaka advises parents to breastfeed for six months before they introduce other foods. After six months, consider using cups to feed your child other than using bottles

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Bottle caries usually affect the front teeth

Parents like giving their children sweet things, little do they know that this puts the oral health of their children in danger.

Experts warn that drinking lots of sugary drinks such as fruit juices and soft drinks can cause a host of dental issues such as gum disease, tooth decay, dental cavities and even bad breath.

According to Dr Sabrina Kitaka, a paediatrician in Mulago Hospital, children are more at risk because they do not brush and floss.

Kitaka notes that parents who give their children sugary drinks in bottles have worsened the bottle caries situation in children.

She notes that parents give children drinks in bottles and they even go to bed with them. This worsens the situation and in the long process, the children’s teeth get damaged.

How bad is the situation?

According to Dr James Obia, a dentist research has shown that bottle-fed children have a higher risk of suffering from bottle carries, a condition that results from taking in sweet sweets using bottles from time to time.

He notes that in every 15 patients that he receives in a day, 10 of them are children with teeth issues resulting from taking in sweet drinks. “This condition usually affects the children’s front teeth,” he adds.

He notes that parents are quick to give their children sweet things, but they are slow to help them brush their teeth. 

This gives bacteria in the mouth time to break down the sugars left on the teeth into acid. The acid commonly known as lactic acid, begins to eat away some of the enamel which makes your child’s teeth thinner and weaker.

As the enamel weakens, the possibility of developing cavities becomes greater so the earlier parents avoid this, the better.

How to avoid bottle caries

Kitaka advises parents to breastfeed their children for six months before they introduce other foods to them. After six months, consider using cups to feed your child other than using bottles.

“Cups are easy to maintain in terms of cleaning and a child cannot go to bed with a cup in the mouth like it is the case with bottles,” she notes. 

Obia says if any parent must give fruit juices to his/her children, then they should consider routine brushing with fluoride tooth paste. Brushing should start from the time when your first child’s tooth comes out. 


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