Baby bottle decay-how to prevent it.

I recently had two of the sweetest boys come into my office for a check up and cleaning.  The first thing that was noticeable on both boys was their front teeth looked funny.  On further examintion,  both boys have severe decay on their 4 front teeth.  One boy is 2 years old and the other is 4 years old.  I was told that the mother was explaining this problem as a genetic disorder, or that it was hereditary and was common in her side of the family.  Upon futher questioning, it was determined that each boy had been put to bed with a bottle containing milk, juice. or some other flavored beverage every night.  This can cause decay of the baby’s teeth and used to be refered to as “bottle rot”.

Milk, juice, kool aid, or any such beverage contain some form of sugar that can be broken down by the bacteria in the mouth and can lead to decay of the baby’s teeth.   What causes this is the fact that the baby falls asleep with the bottle in their mouth and the teeth are then surrounded and bathed in whatever liquid is in the bottle.   After this happens, the decay process begins and as this is repeated night after night,  the decay gets worse and worse.  In the worse case, as in the 4 year old boy who came to my office, the teeth are finally decayed to the point where the tooth is decayed down to the gumline and the tooth must be extracted.   In the case of the 2 year old, three of the teeth can be filled and save, but one will most likely need to be extracted too.

If you feel the need to put your baby to bed with a bottle, just fill it with water.  This will not lead to decay and may help the baby get to sleep faster.  A pacifier is another option to help the baby get to sleep.  Please do not put babies and grandbabies to bed with a bottle containing milk, juice, kool aid, or any other sugar containing liquid.  This will help maintain those baby teeth until the permanent ones are ready to replace them.

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