At times parents may feel that it soothes and/or makes the night time routine easier to put children “night-night” with a bottle; which typically contains formula, milk or juice. Allowing a child to fall asleep with these substances allows the sugars to continually turn to acid causing cavities and potentially leading to dental issues in their future. This can also occur during daily bottle use if proper dental hygiene is not achieved. As much as we believe things like Gatorade should be healthy, it is among one of the highest sugar content drinks available, so be sure to know what you are giving your children. Water is always the best alternative when possible. As these bacteria grow in your child’s mouth it can damage or in the worst cases, rot your child’s incoming baby teeth; hence the name baby bottle rot. This could cause very painful procedures and even extractions for your child at a very young age which could ultimately lead to speech problems or damaged adult teeth.
There are many things you can do to prevent bottle rot such as:
- Do not allow your child to fall asleep with a bottle
- Avoid dipping pacifiers into any sugar, honey, etc.
If you are like many parents who may not have even known about bottle rot prior to reading this and you want to be able to wean your child off the sugars here are some good tips:
- Slowly start diluting the bottles to water using more water and less of the sugary substance every time (best to do this over a couple weeks otherwise they may put up a fight if you try to pull the sugar away to quickly).
- Prior to the first tooth, gently rub gums with a small washcloth daily, once the first tooth has erupted brush with a small soft bristled toothbrush with a tiny pea sized amount of toothpaste twice daily.
- Schedule your child’s first dental exam as early as 1 year old or when teeth begin to appear.
- Always be positive at your child’s dental exam, helping them to understand that going to the dentist is a good thing will help them to have a healthy mouth and smile for a lifetime.