Baby Bottle Decay

Baby Bottle Decay

Fight away baby bottle decay

It’s never too early to talk to children about the importance of dental hygiene. In fact, parents should help with healthy habits from birth to avoid common oral health problems that can plague children for decades.

Fussy babies are often comforted by their bottles and pacifiers, but did you know that what’s in the bottle may contribute to tooth decay? Infants may suffer from early childhood caries (cavities), commonly known as baby bottle tooth decay.1 This is primarily caused by frequent, prolonged exposure of baby’s teeth to drinks that contain sugar. Milk, including breast milk, juice drinks and formula contain sugars that can contribute to decay, so if you send your child to sleep with a bottle, fill it only with water.

Baby teeth may be temporary, but they are still at risk of developing cavities.1 Here’s how you can help keep your baby’s teeth and gums healthy:

  • Avoid sharing saliva with your baby through common feeding spoons or licking pacifiers. This can transfer germs (bacteria) that cause tooth decay.
  • After each feeding, wipe your child’s gums with a clean, damp washcloth.
  • Only provide your child with a clean pacifier—don’t dip it in sugar or honey.
  • Visit the dentist within six months of your child’s first tooth appearing or by the first birthday.
  • When your child’s teeth come in, brush them gently with a smear of toothpaste on a child-sized soft toothbrush until age 3.

This information is available for download as an oral health flyer.

1 American Dental Association, “Bottle Tooth Decay,” web.


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