How to Prevent Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Every year thousands of
infants and young children suffer from extensive tooth
decay. Surprisingly, the major culprits are milk and
other liquids from the baby's bottle.
Bacteria - Your Baby's Enemies
Just like an adult's mouth, a baby's mouth is full of
bacteria. These bacteria feed on sugars found in the liquids we
drink and in the foods we eat. Ungrateful hosts, these bacteria
produce acid as a by-product of their feasting. It is this acid
which attacks the tooth enamel and causes cavities.
Many parents put their children to sleep with a bottle. They
often find that this helps the baby settle down. Unfortunately,
studies show that babies fall asleep with the baby bottle
nipples in their mouths, allowing fluid from the bottle to pool
Sugar present in the fluid continually nourishes the
bacteria that are in the baby's mouth. Using this constant
source of sugar, bacteria multiply and create a steady stream
of tooth damaging acid. Night after night of acid attack
results in cavity formation and extensive tooth decay. In some
cases, the entire tooth can be eaten away by bacterially
It is especially important to be vigilant against baby
bottle tooth decay because baby teeth are more susceptible to
tooth decay than adult teeth.
Additionally, constant sugar in the mouth can lead to a
build-up of bacteria to a point where more harmful types of
bacteria start becoming predominant. These bacteria cause
gingivitis by invading gum tissue and releasing toxins. In
severe cases, the bacteria and their toxins can attack bone
structures supporting the teeth (periodontal disease) resulting
in permanent damage.
Protecting Your Child
What can parents do to protect their children's teeth? We
suggest that after every bottle feeding you take a wet cloth or
gauze pad and gently wipe your child's gums and teeth. This
will remove any bacteria containing plaque and excess sugar
that may have built up.
What liquid should you put in your baby's bedtime bottle?
Natural juices such as grape juice or apple juice contain
natural sugars which bacteria can use to create acids. Milk
contains a sugar called lactose which bacteria can also use to
If you give you child a bedtime bottle, the liquid of choice
inside of the baby's bottle is water. Water contains no sugar
and can not be used by bacteria to produce acid.
Finally, never give your baby a pacifier dipped in any type
of substance containing large amounts of sugar. Many parents,
for example, give their children pacifiers dipped in honey.
This can be very bad for the baby's teeth.
When you protect your child from baby bottle tooth decay you
ensure that their smile will last a
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