Baby bottle tooth decay (or nursing bottle mouth) is a leading dental problem for children under 3 years of age. Baby bottle tooth decay occurs when a child’s teeth are exposed to sugary liquids, such as formula, fruit juices, and other sweetened liquids for a continuous, extended period of time. Click the following link to find out more about baby teething.
The practice of putting a baby to bed with a bottle, which the baby can suck on for hours, is the major cause of this dental condition. The sugary liquid flows over the baby’s upper front teeth and dissolves the enamel, causing decay that can lead to infection. The longer the practice continues, the greater the damage to the baby’s teeth and mouth. Treatment is very expensive.How can baby bottle tooth decay be prevented?
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry has developed the following guidelines for preventing baby bottle tooth decay:
- Don’t allow a child to fall asleep with a bottle containing milk, formula, fruit juices, or other sweet liquids. Never let a child walk with a bottle in her mouth.
- Comfort a child who wants a bottle between regular feedings or during naps with a bottle filled with cool water.
- Always make sure a child’s pacifier is clean, and never dip a pacifier in a sweet liquid.
- Introduce children to a cup as they approach 1 year of age. Children should stop drinking from a bottle soon after their first birthday.
- Look for any unusual red or swollen areas in a child’s mouth or any dark spot on your child’s tooth and consult a dentist immediately once they’re discovered.
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