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  • Sara Silvestri, MD FAAP

8 Things you Need to Know about Baby Bottle Tooth Decay



1. Baby bottle tooth decay is the most common cause of tooth decay in toddlers


2. It comes from sugars in liquids coming into contact with teeth for long periods of time. Certainly soda and Kool Aid have surgars, but so does milk and juice. The normal bacteria that live in our mouths cause the sugar to become an acid and the acid erodes the very thin hard outside covering of baby teeth.


3. The first signs of Baby Bottle Tooth Decay are white spots near the gums. Decay with yellow and brown spots are a late sign. The upper front teeth are generally the first to be affected.


4. Giving a bottle with anything other than water to have for comfort in their crib is the most common way to cause Baby Bottle Tooth Decay. But please be aware that water alone is not recommended for young infants so please ask your pediatrician first if your child is old enough for water.


5. Frequent comfort feedings or having the bottle or sippy cup with non-water liquids available for frequent sipping can also cause this problem.


6. Once tooth decay occurs, your child will need a pediatric dentist and may require anesthesia and significant surgery to fix the problem.


7. Prevention is key! Don’t let your baby have a bottle in their crib. Don’t let your toddlers constantly carry a non-water bottle or sippy cup around with them.


8. Good dental hygiene and brushing is always important. For babies, wipe their gums gently with a washcloth. Once teeth appear, brush with a rice grain sized amount of fluorinated toothpaste twice daily until the child is 3. Kids over 3 can use a pea sized amount of toothpaste which can then be spit out after brushing.

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