Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Brush, brush, brush, away, brushes away the tooth decay – If only it was that easy!

Unfortunately, many parents are not aware that letting kids sip on sugary drinks or putting them to bed with a bottle of milk can be very harmful to their teeth and gums.

Fairway Plaza Dental say they have seen an increase of children with tooth decay and it often starts in the early infant days when sweetened liquids such as milk, formula, and fruit juice cling to an infant’s teeth for a long time. Bacteria in the mouth thrive on sugar and create acids that attack the teeth.

How can I prevent baby bottle tooth decay?

Babies 0 to12 months:

Don’t allow your baby to sleep with a bottle of milk. Keep your baby’s mouth clean by gently wiping their gums with a clean soft washcloth after each milk feed. Once you see the first teeth, gently brush using a very soft baby toothbrush & water.

Babies 12 to 36 months:

Brush your toddler’s teeth two times per day for two minutes. Brush in the morning after breakfast and again in the evening after dinner and their last drink.

Baby cleaning gums washcloth

Think about drinks & sugary foods.

Children shouldn’t sip on sugary drinks or munch on sugary foods for extended periods of time. If your child drinks any other kind of liquid drinks other than water, serve them in a cup and limit the consumption time. Encourage children to finish their drink quickly, and then take away the cup after a reasonable amount of time. Get your children into the habit of brushing their teeth after meals and snacks to reduce the risk of cavities.

How can I wean my toddler off the bedtime bottle? 

It’s never easy to take away the bottle from a toddler or a baby, especially if they have come to expect it as a sleep tool.

Start by increasing milk through the day with meals, and then wean the bedtime bottle down with less milk every night. For example, if your child normally drinks 8oz of milk every night lessen it to 6oz then to 4oz and so on. Before you know it, you will be down to the bare minimum.

When you are finally down to a small dose of milk before bed, it’s time to take the bottle away completely. There may be tears and tantrums of protests but persevere, it will pass in a few days.

To lessen the possibility of tantrums, try talking to your child about cavities and protecting their teeth. Show them a picture of a tooth with cavities and explain that it’s important to protect your teeth. Try and keep the conversation light and fun to avoid scaring your child.

Cartoon teeth with cavitiesIf your toddler has come to depend on milk in a bottle to sooth them to sleep, then expect some sleep disruption. Encourage a sippy cup of water at bedtime to ease the transition. The fussing and meltdowns will only last a few days, so stand firm and offer words of comfort.

Good oral health lasts a lifetime. Teaching your child to take care of their teeth early will set them up with strong, healthy teeth in the future.