What Is The Connection Between A Baby Bottle And Tooth Decay

Many may not realize that infants can suffer from tooth decay, and that decay is related to the use of a baby bottle. Baby bottle and tooth decay is quite common and occurs when babies ingest sweetened liquids. Those liquids include those with natural sugars too, like milk, formula, and fruit juices for example. The problems associated with this type of decay are many, and baby teeth are, of course, important for they are necessary for chewing and in helping a child speak.


The Causes Of Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

As mentioned, babies who drink any sugary liquid can be at risk of developing tooth decay. The bacteria that is inside of an infant’s mouth likes sugary beverages and will combine with sugar to form the acids that attack the teeth.  Giving infants a sweet drink at nighttime or before a nap is also harmful. Infants tend to fall asleep with the bottle in their mouth. When sleeping, the flow of saliva increases, which will increase the development of the acids that cause tooth decay. Children who take a pacifier that is dipped in sugar or a sugary liquid will also be at risk for developing tooth decay.


How To Prevent Tooth Decay In Infants

As one can see, the link between the baby bottle and tooth decay exists. It is also easy to work to prevent tooth decay in infants that use a bottle. The first thing any parent or caregiver can do is to never allow a child to fall asleep with a bottle in their mouth. Remember, even milk contains natural sugars, which can promote tooth decay.

Parents and caregivers are urged to clean a baby’s gums once each day. Take a moist washcloth or piece of gauze around a finger and gently massage the gums. This will help keep the teeth and gums clean and will also help in the teething process. Once an infant develops its first tooth, brushing should begin. Parents should use non-fluoride toothpaste until their baby learns to spit.


Why Prevent Baby Tooth Decay

Many parents probably think that since baby teeth are going to fall out that they are not that necessary. Oral hygiene at any age is crucial. Allowing sugary liquids on a baby’s gums for extended periods of time can lead to infections and severe pain. Children can develop bad eating habits that will carry over into young adulthood. They may also have problems with crooked and damaged teeth later in life.