Los Fresnos News

Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Q: What is baby bottle tooth decay?


Dr. Eric Valle

Dr. Eric Valle

Baby bottle tooth decay is caused by the frequent and long-term exposure of a child’s teeth to liquids containing sugars. Among these liquids are milk, formula, fruit juice, sodas and other sweetened drinks. Every time a child consumes a sugary liquid, acid attacks the teeth and gums. After numerous attacks, tooth decay can begin. The condition also is associated with breast-fed infants who have prolonged feeding habits or with children whose pacifies are frequently dipped in honey, sugar or syrup. Fortunately, baby bottle tooth decay can be prevented by never allowing children to fall asleep with a bottle containing milk, formula or other sweetened liquids. Giving an infant a sugary drink at nap or night time is harmful because during sleep, the flow of saliva decreases, allowing the sugary liquids to linger on the child’s teeth for an extended period of time. If left untreated, pain and infection can result. Also, clean the baby’s gums to help establish healthy teeth and to aid in teething. Wrap a moistened washcloth around the finger and gently massage the gums and gingival tissues. This should be done once a day. Tooth brushing should begin upon eruption of the first baby tooth. When brushing a child’s teeth, use a soft toothbrush and a pea-shaped amount of fluoride toothpaste. Parents should first bring their child to the dentist between six and 12 months old. Keep in mind that healthy baby teeth will usually result in healthy permanent teeth and ‘happier’ trips to the dental office. Call us if you have any questions or concerns about baby bottle tooth decay; we love seeing kids of all ages in our practice and do our best to make it a fun visit.


Dr. Adam Lalonde
Dr. Grayson Sellers
Dr. Eric Valle