baby bottle teeth

Baby Bottle Teeth: Causes, Symptoms, Prevention, and Treatment

date: 05.28.2024


Dr. Lara Saleh

Lara Saleh, DDS, MS, is a board-certified, award-winning pediatric dentist and the Founder & Owner of Dr Toothfairy. Dr. Saleh is fluent in English, Arabic, and French. She is also the mother of two wonderful young children and loves helping them, and all of her young patients achieve lifelong oral health.

As parents, we know how important it is to take good care of our children’s teeth, but did you know that tooth decay can start in babies as young as six months of age? This is sometimes called baby bottle tooth decay or Baby Bottle Teeth. It occurs when a baby’s teeth are frequently exposed to sugary liquids such as formula, milk, fruit juice, or sweetened water. In this blog post, we will discuss the causes, symptoms, prevention, and treatment of baby bottle tooth teeth, so you can help your little one maintain a healthy and beautiful smile.

Causes of Baby Bottle Teeth

Baby bottle tooth decay occurs when bacteria in the mouth feed on sugars from liquids, producing acids that can erode the teeth. The primary cause of baby bottle teeth is frequent and prolonged exposure to sugary drinks. This often happens when a child falls asleep while drinking a bottle of milk or juice, which gives the bacteria in the mouth more time to produce damaging acids. Additionally, babies who are allowed to sip on sugary drinks throughout the day are also at risk of baby bottle tooth decay.

Symptoms of Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

The early signs of baby bottle teeth include white spots on the teeth, which may develop into brown spots or cavities over time. You may also notice bad breath, inflamed gums, and a reluctance to eat or drink. In severe cases, baby bottle tooth decay can cause pain, swelling, and infection, which can lead to tooth loss and other serious health problems.

Prevention of Baby Bottle Teeth

The best way to prevent baby bottle teeth is to avoid giving your infant sugary drinks, especially before bedtime. Instead, offer them plain water or breast milk. If you do give your child a bottle of milk or juice, be sure to hold them while they drink it and take the bottle away as soon as they’re finished. Avoid using pacifiers dipped in sugar or honey, and don’t let your baby fall asleep with a bottle in their mouth. Lastly, it’s important to establish good dental habits early on, such as wiping your baby’s gums with a clean wet cloth or a baby toothbrush.

Treatment of Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

If your child has already developed baby bottle teeth, it’s important to seek dental treatment as soon as possible. In some cases, the decayed tooth may need to be filled or extracted. Your dentist may also recommend fluoride treatments, sealants, or other preventive measures to protect your child’s teeth from further decay.

Ask Dr Toothfairy About Baby Bottle Teeth

As a parent or caregiver, it’s important to take steps to prevent baby bottle teeth (tooth decay) before it starts. By limiting your child’s exposure to sugary drinks and establishing good dental habits early on, you can help your little one maintain a healthy and beautiful smile. If you’re concerned about your child’s teeth, be sure to speak with Dr. Lara who can recommend the best ways to prevent and treat baby bottle tooth decay. Remember, the journey to a lifetime of healthy teeth starts early, so start taking good care of your child’s teeth today!

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