One serious form of decay among young children is baby bottle tooth decay. This condition is caused by frequent and long exposure of an infant’s teeth to sugar-containing liquids. Among these liquids are milk (including breast milk), formula, fruit juice and other sweetened drinks. Putting a baby to bed for a nap or at night with a bottle other than water can cause serious and rapid tooth decay. Sweet liquid pools around the child’s teeth, giving bacteria an opportunity to produce acids that attack the tooth enamel. If you must give the baby a bottle for bedtime comfort, it should only contain water. If your child won’t fall asleep without the bottle and its usual beverage, gradually dilute the bottle’s content with water over a period of two to three weeks. After each feeding, wipe the baby’s gums and teeth with a damp washcloth or gauze pad to remove plaque. The easiest way to do this is to sit down, place the child’s head in your lap or place the child on a changing table. Whatever position you use, be sure you can easily see into the child’s mouth.

Category: Infant/Toddler Care