Can Bottle Feeding Lead to Tooth Decay? [Updated for 2018]

mom feeding baby bottle in bed

ALPHARETTA, GA – Did you know that it is possible for tooth decay to set in before your child’s teeth have even erupted? It’s true, and it can be exacerbated by something commonly referred to as baby bottle tooth decay.

Bottlefeeding babies sometimes fall asleep with a bottle in their mouths. While it may be convenient to feed your baby as they are drifting off to sleep, it doesn’t allow you the chance to then properly clean their gums and any teeth they might have. And that means the sugars from the substance in the bottle can turn into decay-causing acids, resulting in cavities and other issues.

It’s important that after each feeding, whether you’re bottle feeding or breastfeeding, you wipe your child’s gums with a clean cloth. Once your child’s teeth begin erupting, you can gently brush with an infant toothbrush and toothpaste.

It’s also important that you begin a relationship with a pediatric dentist by the time your child turns 1. While your child may not have many teeth yet, it’s important to create a healthy mouth now to ensure a healthy mouth in the future.

Some parents may mistakenly believe that they don’t have to pay as close attention to their children’s baby teeth because they are just going to fall out anyway. But healthy baby teeth set the stage for healthy permanent teeth.

Begin creating healthy routines at a young age. Even before your child can speak, you can show them the importance of taking care of their teeth. Proper brushing and flossing habits that are started and encourage at a young age can help ensure that children continue taking proper care of their teeth as they grow.

It’s important for parents to remember a few things:

  • Never let your child drift to sleep with a bottle.
  • Always wipe the gums clean after any feeding.
  • Once the first tooth erupts, begin an oral care regimen.
  • Begin your general dentistry for children relationship after your child turns one.

If you are worried that your child shows signs of decay or are interested in learning more about what you can do to ensure your child has healthy teeth, schedule a consultation with Dr. Nanna Ariaban. She is a board-certified pediatric dentist in Alpharetta who is trained to treat children’s teeth from infancy to their teens.

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