What You Need To Know About Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Kids of all ages can be affected by tooth decay. If your child consumes a lot of sugar, bacteria in their mouth will eat the remaining sugar particles, excreting acid. This acid damages their teeth and eventually causes tooth decay, also called “cavities” or “dental caries.”

One of the most common types of tooth decay in children is “baby bottle tooth decay.” In this blog from The Little Royals: Dentistry for Kids, we’ll discuss what you need to know about this issue, how to avoid it, and how to keep your child’s mouth healthy. 

What Is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay? Explaining The Basics

Baby bottle tooth decay is a specific type of tooth decay that primarily affects the front teeth. It occurs when your child’s teeth are exposed to sugar for a prolonged period of time.

The most common cause of baby bottle tooth decay is putting your child to bed with a bottle of formula or breastmilk. They will drink as they fall asleep, and a small amount of the liquid may remain in their mouth after they fall asleep.

As the liquid sits on the teeth, oral bacteria consume the sugar and excrete acid as a byproduct of digestion. Over time, this softens, weakens, and destroys the outer layer of the teeth, causing tooth decay. 

Tips For Preventing Baby Bottle Tooth Decay & Cavities 

Now that you know a bit about baby bottle tooth decay and cavities, you may be wondering how to prevent tooth decay in your infant or young toddler. Here are a few tips. 

  • Never put your child to bed with a bottle – It’s best to completely avoid putting your child to bed with a bottle. But if your child needs a bottle to fall asleep and they are not ready to give up the habit, fill it with plain tap water. It’s not safe to fill it with any other liquid, including formula, breastmilk, or juice.

  • Avoid giving your child juice and soft drinks – Your child should only be drinking formula and/or breastmilk, as well as water. Do not give them juice, soft drinks, or any other sugary beverage.

  • Wipe down the gums & brush the teeth after feeding – Use a clean, damp cloth to wipe down your child’s gums after feeding. If they have teeth, brush them gently with a toothpaste and a soft-bristled baby toothbrush.

  • Use fluoride toothpaste – Fluoride toothpaste is completely safe, even for babies. It strengthens the enamel and protects their teeth against cavities. Use a grain-of-rice-sized dab dab of toothpaste until your child is about 2-3. Once they know how to spit on command, you can use a blob that’s about the size of a pea. 
  • Give your baby tap water, not bottled water – Tap water contains some fluoride, which helps protect your child’s teeth from tooth decay, and tap water is completely safe for kids of all ages.

  • Never dip pacifiers in sugar or any similar substance – Some parents may dip pacifiers in sugar, syrup, or honey to soothe their child as they nap or relax. Don’t do this. The sugar will sit on their teeth and contribute to baby bottle tooth decay. Pacifiers should never be dipped into anything, let alone a sugary substance. 

Get More Tips From Our Pediatric Dentists – Bring Your Child In Today!

It’s never too early to see the dentist for the first time. If your child is at least one year old or has their first tooth, you can bring them to The Little Royals: Dentistry for Kids! Dr. Sal Colombo and Dr. Yasi Colombo treat kids of all ages, including infants and toddlers.

During your child’s appointment, we can assess their oral health and development, and answer any questions you may have about caring for their teeth and gums as they grow. So don’t wait. Schedule a consultation and protect your little one’s oral health by contacting us online or giving us a call at (561) 510-1450. 

Schedule a Royal Appointment!