When your baby’s teeth first begin to erupt, it is important to watch for the signs of baby bottle tooth decay. Examine the teeth, especially on the inside or the tongue side, every two weeks for dull spots (whiter than the tooth surface) or lines. A bottle containing anything other than water and left in an infant’s mouth while sleeping can cause decay.
This happens because sugar in the liquid mixes with bacteria in dental plaque, forming acids that attack the tooth enamel. Each time a child drinks liquids containing sugar (including formula or breast milk), acids attack the teeth for about 20 minutes. When awake, saliva carries away the liquid. During sleep, the saliva flow significantly decreases and liquids pool around the child’s teeth for long periods, covering the teeth in acids.
Our practice has some simple, practical suggestions to help you prevent baby bottle tooth decay. Tooth decay in infants can be minimized or totally prevented by not allowing infants to nurse or bottle-feed themselves to sleep. Infants that need a bottle to comfortably fall asleep should be given a water-filled bottle or a pacifier. Babies and toddlers should never be put to bed with a bottle or tippy cup of anything other than water.
Encourage your child to drink from a cup as they approach their first birthday. Avoid letting your child have fruit juice from a bottle. If you must give your child juice, offer it from a cup. Colas and other soft drinks are particularly damaging to your child’s developing teeth, and should be avoided.
Our office is dedicated to fighting baby bottle tooth decay. Let us know if you notice any signs of decay or anything unusual in your child’s mouth.