Tips to prevent baby-bottle tooth decay

Tips to prevent baby bottle tooth decay
Kids with good teeth grow up to be adults with good teeth. If you teach your children how to brush and floss and take them to the dentist twice a year, they'll have strong, healthy teeth.

Even though your child's first teeth or baby teeth will fall out and permanent teeth will grow in, they are just as important to keep clean. Baby teeth hold places in your child's mouth so permanent teeth can grow incorrectly.

Babies, bottles, and bedtime seem to go hand in hand, but putting your baby to sleep with a bottle could harm his or her health. See how baby bottle tooth decay occurs and learn oral hygiene tips to prevent it.

What is infant or “baby-bottle” tooth decay?


Now known as Early Childhood Caries (ECC), infant tooth decay results when babies fall asleep with breast milk or milk, formula and juice from a bottle on their teeth. Babies are not able to clear the pooling liquid from their mouths.

Because the sugar in formula, milk, or juice stays in contact with the teeth for a long time during the night or at naptime, the teeth can decay quickly.

Infants and Toddlers


It's important and easy to keep your baby's mouth clean so they get used to having clean gums. After each feeding, gently wipe your baby's gums with a clean damp cloth or with a gauze pad. This will remove any leftover milk or formula.

Whether your baby has one tooth or ten, they can get cavities. After the first tooth comes in, start to brush it with water and a small, soft toothbrush. Then wipe out the rest of your baby's mouth. Floss between your baby's teeth if they touch. Start taking your baby to the dentist when their first tooth comes in or when they turn one, whichever comes first.

Baby bottle tooth decay is common in infants and toddlers who drink too many sweet liquids like sweet formula, fruit juice, or sugar water. It's also common in infants and toddlers who go to sleep with bottles.

Here are some tips to prevent baby bottle tooth decay:

  • Start taking care of your baby's teeth as soon as they start coming in.
  • Don't give your baby bottles of sugar water or a cool drink.
  • Don't let your baby fall asleep with a bottle of milk, formula, fruit juice, or any other sweet liquid. If your baby needs something for comfort at night, fill the bottle with water or give your baby a dummy.
  • Never dip a dummy in sugar or anything sweet.
  • If your infant's or toddler's top front teeth have black or brown spots, follow the tips above and take them to the dentist right away.
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