Baby bottle tooth decay is caused by the frequent and long-term exposure of a child’s teeth to liquids containing sugars. Among these liquids are milk, formula, fruit juice, sodas and other sweetened drinks. The sugars in these liquids pool around the infant’s teeth and gums, feeding the bacteria in plaque. Every time a child consumes a sugary liquid, acid produced by these bacteria attack the teeth and gums. After numerous attacks, tooth decay can begin

Why should I be worried about baby bottle tooth decay?

Giving an infant a sugary drink or milk (which contains lactose) at nap or night time is harmful because during sleep, the flow of saliva decreases, allowing the sugary liquids to linger on the child’s teeth for an extended period of time. If left untreated, decay can result, which can cause pain and infection. Severely decayed teeth may need to be extracted. If teeth are infected or lost too early due to tooth decay, your child may develop poor eating habits, speech problems, crooked teeth and damaged adult teeth. Healthy baby teeth will usually result in healthy permanent teeth.

How can I prevent baby bottle tooth decay?

Never allow a child to fall asleep with a bottle containing milk, formula, juice or other sweetened liquids. Clean and massage the baby’s gums to help establish healthy teeth and to aid in teething. You should start brushing your child’s teeth as soon as they get their first tooth. Make sure you use a soft children’s toothbrush with children’s toothpaste, which is lower in fluoride concentration.