If you haven’t heard of baby bottle tooth syndrome, you need to stop what you’re doing and read through this quick overview of what it is and how you can prevent it.
Baby bottle tooth syndrome is the name given to tooth decay primarily caused by the use of a baby bottle as a sleeping aid. Most children quickly and easily fall asleep when drinking from a bottle of milk, juice, or some other liquid. Unfortunately, some of that liquid can pool on the front teeth. Since the bacteria that causes cavities thrives on sugar, the enamel will be quickly eroded.
This is clearly a situation you want to avoid, so take these steps to help prevent baby bottle tooth syndrome.
Use the Right Drinks
Some parents let their kids drink juice, sugar water, or even soft drinks from a baby bottle. These drinks are high in sugar and therefore more likely to cause baby bottle tooth syndrome. Only use formula, milk, breast milk, or water.
Fill It with Water
Some children need a bottle to fall asleep. If your little bundle of joy numbers among them, fill the bottle with water rather than milk or formula when you want them to drop off.
Remove the Bottle
Babies don’t always fall asleep on schedule and get a solid eight hours in one go. If your baby falls asleep while they are feeding, remove the bottle as soon as you notice they aren’t sucking.
Baby bottle tooth syndrome can be as much about oral healthcare as the bottle itself, which is why you need to start brushing your child’s teeth right when they erupt. You should also start flossing them as soon as two primary teeth are touching. Just go gentle and give them time to get used to the sensation.
Teach the Cup
Baby bottle tooth syndrome only occurs when your child is drinking from the bottle instead of from a cup, so try getting them onto the cup as early as you can. Most children can start learning after about six months, and you should make sure they’re weaned from the bottle by the time they turn one.