Baby bottle tooth decay is a pattern of decay on a child’s teeth caused by prolonged exposure to sugary substances in a baby bottle. The condition is also referred to as early childhood caries or baby bottle tooth decay.
Also known as early childhood caries, baby bottle tooth decay refers to the loss of tooth structure due to frequent and long-term exposure to sugary liquids found in baby bottles and sippy cups. These liquids are often referred to as “baby bottle syndrome” because they can lead to rampant decay in children between the ages of six months and three years.
When a child is put to bed with a bottle or sippy cup filled with juice, milk, formula, or any other sugary liquid, the sugars in these beverages pool around the child’s teeth throughout the night. This prolonged exposure allows plaque bacteria to multiply and produce acid, which attacks the teeth. Over time, this can cause cavities and even result in premature tooth loss.
The sugars naturally found in breast milk and formula feeds are the primary cause of baby bottle tooth decay, but a lack of fluoride in drinking water and the frequent exposure of a baby’s teeth to a sugary liquid can both contribute. When your child consumes a bottle within two hours of going to bed, the teeth are bathed for far too long in a substance that bathes the teeth in sugar. And, because children sleep so deeply, they’re likely to swallow the liquid without even knowing they’re doing it. Some instances of baby bottle tooth decay require no treatment at all – just extra vigilance in ensuring a child isn’t putting his or her mouth to a bottle of milk or juice before bed. In other cases, your dentist may recommend prescription-strength fluoride toothpaste for your child to help remineralize the tooth enamel and prevent further decay. In rare cases, your little one may need a visit to the dentist’s office for a filling. But as long as you’re diligent about keeping bottles away from your kids’ bedtime routine, you can prevent most cases of baby bottle tooth decay before they ever begin.
When your baby goes to bed with a bottle filled with sugary liquids, their teeth are sitting in this liquid for a longer period of time than during the day. This extended exposure to sugar can cause a condition known as “baby bottle tooth decay.” These cases are usually seen in children who fall asleep with a bottle of juice or milk.
In order to prevent baby bottle tooth decay, you must make sure your child doesn’t go to bed with a bottle that contains any sugary liquids. Instead, fill their bottle with water or formula only. Your child shouldn’t be drinking anything other than water while they are awake. Furthermore, make sure to brush their teeth after they have fallen asleep and before they wake up. This will help remove any leftover food particles from their teeth and gums.
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