Do Baby Bottles Cause Tooth Decay?

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Teeth begin developing before a baby is born. Good nutrition during pregnancy is important in the development of the baby’s teeth.

Even though they are temporary, your child’s baby teeth are still susceptible to cavities. Tooth decay in little ones is often referred to as Baby Bottle Tooth Decay.

Children need strong, healthy teeth to chew their food, speak, and have a good-looking smile. Their first teeth also help make sure their adult teeth come in correctly. It’s important to start infants off with good oral care to help protect their teeth for decades to come.

What Causes Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?

Baby Bottle Tooth Decay most often occurs in the upper front teeth, but other teeth may also be affected.

There are many factors which can cause tooth decay in your baby’s teeth. Here are a few:

  • Prolonged exposure of the baby’s teeth to drinks that contain sugar.
  • When the baby is put to bed with a bottle.
  • When a bottle is used as a comforter for a fussy baby.
  • Your infant or toddler does not receive an adequate amount of fluoride.

The good news is that decay is preventable.

Preventing Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

  • Try not to share saliva with the baby by sharing a spoon during feeding.
  • Don’t clean by licking pacifiers.
  • When your child’s teeth come in, brush them gently with a child-size toothbrush and a small amount of fluoride toothpaste until the age of 3. 
  • Don’t fill the bottle with liquids such as sugar water, juice, or soft drinks.
  • Infants should finish their bedtime and naptime bottles before going to bed.
  • Don’t dip your baby’s pacifier in sugar or honey.
  • Encourage your child to drink from a cup by his/her first birthday.
  • Encourage healthy eating habits.

When your child’s first tooth appears, talk to your dentist about scheduling the first dental visit. Treat the first dental visit as you would a well-baby checkup with the child’s physician. Remember: starting early is the key to a lifetime of good dental health.