Welcome Guest | Login OR Register

Nursing Bottle Caries: All about Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

16 June 2014, Dabur Dental Team

What is Nursing Bottle Caries

Baby bottle tooth decay is a disease characterized by severe decay in the teeth of infants or young children. It is a very common bacterial infection that is contagious and transmissible. It is usually seen as a consequence of infants sleeping while suckling onto a bottle of milk or other sweet/sticky fluids.

What Causes Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?

Baby bottle tooth decay happens when sweetened liquids or those with natural sugars (like milk, formula, and fruit juice) cling to an infant's teeth for a long time. Bacteria in the mouth thrive on this sugar and make acids that attack the teeth.

Who is Prone to Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?

Kids who have their pacifiers frequently dipped in sugar or syrup and kids who feed on sugary drinks at nap time are more prone to this disease. Also, children who develop a habit of sleeping while sucking onto milk bottles are potential patients of baby bottle tooth decay.

Why is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay Worrisome?

If left untreated, baby bottle tooth decay can cause immense pain and infection. Also, severely decayed teeth may need to be extracted. If teeth are infected or lost too early due to baby bottle tooth decay, the child may develop poor eating habits, speech problems, crooked teeth and damaged adult teeth. At times the paediatric dentist needs to restore the child’s decayed teeth till the permanent teeth erupt.

How Can Baby Bottle Tooth Decay Be Prevented?

If you keep a couple of basic hygiene measures in mind, chances are you will be able to avoid baby bottle tooth decay.
  • Never allow a child to fall asleep with a bottle containing milk, formula, juice or other sweetened liquids. This is because, when sugary liquids cling to baby's teeth, they feed bacteria that can trigger tooth decay. If you must give your child a bottle to take to bed, make sure it contains only water.
  • Always clean and massage the baby's gums to help establish healthy teeth and to aid in teething. Wrap a moistened gauze square or washcloth around the finger and gently massage the gums and gingival tissues. This should be done after every feeding. These days infant tooth brushes are available in the market which can be worn on the finger enhancing ease of brushing your child’s teeth.
  • Make sure your baby’s first visit to the dentist happens when the child is between 6 and 12 months old.

What Other Techniques Can Be Used To Prevent Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?

  • Make sure the pacifier your baby uses is completely clean and disinfected. Do not share your baby’s utensils so as not to pass on any bacterial infection.
  • Never give your child a pacifier dipped in anything sweet or sticky fluids.
  • Decrease consumption of sugar, especially between meals.
  • Children should be weaned from the bottle as soon as they can drink from a cup, usually by their first birthday.
  • Gradually dilute the sugary content in the baby’s bottle with water and switch to only water during nap times.
  • Never allow your child to fall asleep with a bottle containing anything but water.
  • Always use best toothpaste in India-Babool for your kids.

Nursing Caries: Tooth Decay due to Breastfeeding

Did you know that breastfed babies are more likely to have tooth decay? 40% of children breastfed between 6 and 24 months, and 48% of those breastfed after the age of 2 have tooth decay. It’s shocking, but true, that breast feeding may not always be the best thing for your infant. This is because when a baby is sucking from his mother's breast his teeth are sealed off. This prevents saliva from reaching them, which is a bad thing because it is saliva that breaks down bacteria and prevents tooth decay. Also, it is possible that breast milk in conjunction with excess refined sugar in modern foods may be contributing to the greater tooth decay.

It is important to maintain good habits for the baby’s sake right from the start. One of such dental care tip is to keep the baby’s mouth clean at all times. Simply wipe the mouth with a soft, dampened washcloth to remove all the excessive sugar from milk that has stuck onto the baby’s teeth. However what a mother should avoid is the baby sucking on her breast throughout the night as this leads to very little saliva circulation in the baby's mouth, which can increase the risk of decay. It is also important that the primary caregiver of the baby should also maintain good dental health because the bacteria that cause tooth decay in a baby usually come from her. Brushing/cleaning should be started the day the first tooth erupts in the mouth.

Some dentists recommend altering a baby's pattern of breastfeeding, reducing total number of feeds, and avoiding night time feeds. Professional dental guidelines also suggest avoiding on-demand breastfeeding after tooth eruption. It is also important to find the right age to wean a baby off breast milk. Your paediatrician can guide you here!

It is also important to clean your baby’s teeth after every feed so as to avoid the growth of germs in your child’s mouth. You must brush your baby's teeth as soon as they erupt with a small, soft bristle brush, or wipe with a damp washcloth.

Avoid saliva-to-saliva contact with your baby. This means that you should avoid sharing spoons, chewing food for your baby, or putting your baby's pacifier in your mouth. This is a healthy practice as this way you do not pass on the germs from your mouth to the child. Good dental habits will prevent dental decay. Overdoing of anything can be harmful in the long run. Always consult the baby’s dentist for helpful dental care tips and when your baby is old enough to use a fluoridated toothpaste (usually advised after the age of 4), choose a herbal one like Babool Toothpaste.

Here are some of the most effectiive home remedies to get rid of tooth decay/Dental Caries. Maintain proper oral hygiene and choose the right toothpaste to keep all dental problems away & ensure proper dental care.


Was this Article helpful?

Yes       No