Bottle-Feeding Ruins Infant Teeth

Posted on : 06-12-2012 | By : Haddon Suttner | In : Dentistry for Children, Oral Health, Preventive Dentistry

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Every year a large number of infants and small children suffer from extensive tooth decay. Research has identified major culprits as milk and other liquids which are fed to small children in bottles. In recent times dentists have reported a rising rate of severe tooth decay in infants as young as 12 months. The prime factor responsible for this is thought to be bottle feeding babies.


Sucking using a bottle increase the child’s risk of developing tooth decay. When they get in contact with sugar through food intake and carbohydrates then enters the mouth, they give food for cavity-causing bacteria. The more they eat snacks, the more food these bacteria get. This is what causes cavities for children at a very early age. This condition is called childhood carries. It spreads rapidly causing pain and can lead to an abscess and putting the child in a higher risk of having cavities all throughout their life. Tooth decay is a serious problem for young children causing interference with child’s sleeping, playing and eating. Parents should bring their child to the dentist as soon as signs of tooth decay are seen. This condition advances quickly and can cause a much more severe dental problem for your child.

Tooth decay is common in babies who are bottle fed. Tooth decay in infants is known as baby bottle tooth decay. If proper attention is not paid, it may cause serious teeth problems in infants. Similar to an adult’s mouth, baby’s mouth is also full of bacteria. The bacteria feed on sugars found in the liquids that we drink and in foods we eat. These bacteria produce acid as a by-product which attacks the tooth enamel and causes cavities.

Especially when fed at night children suck on bottles in a lying down position. Naturally occurring lactose is present in both breast milk and formula. When combined with plaque which is present naturally in a baby’s mouth, it is capable of eroding the enamel of primary teeth. The best way to avoid this problem is to make children drink from a cup once breast feeding stops.

Baby bottle tooth decay can affect children as old as 3 years. It can happen when a child’s teeth are exposed to sugary liquids, like formula or fruit juices for continuous, extended period of time. The enamel gets dissolved causing decay which can cause tooth infections as the sugary liquid flows over the baby’s upper front teeth. Longer the practice of bottle feeding continues the greater will be the extent of damage to the baby’s teeth and mouth.

How To Prevent Infants’ Teeth?

1. Ensure that your child does not fall asleep with a bottle containing milk, formula, fruit juices, or such other sweetened liquids in his mouth.

2. Instead of bottle feeding a baby sweetened liquids, consider the option of comforting the child a bottle filled with cool, plain water.

3. Adopt hygiene measures to ensure that the pacifier used by a child is clean. Do not feed a child sweetened drinks in a pacifier.

4. The longer a child is bottle fed more challenging will it be to make her give it up. Hence, at around 8 months of age parents must start teaching a baby to drink from a cup.

5. The child must be encouraged to have small sips of beverages like fruit juice mixed with water from cups.

6. Make sure that you take proper measures to clean any bacteria containing plaque and excess sugar that may have built up.

For further details take guidelines from your dentist. You may call Dr. Haddon Suttner for any type of dental problems on 02 9365 6197. For details about the services visit Dentist Bondi

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