Link between Extended Bottle-feeding and Tooth Decay

Ask any parent how difficult it is to stop a child from bottle-feeding. Since it is not an easy task for them to get their child rid of bottles, they delay weaning and continue to bottle-feed. Researchers have identified the reason behind this as the link between extended bottle-feeding and tooth decay. This is often referred to as baby bottle tooth decay.

This problem is most likely to arise during bed-time when babies are put to bed with a bottle, so that the parents do not have to wake-up with the baby. This habit poses a particular threat to the child’s dental health, thus leading to tooth decay. While tooth decay due to extended bottle-feeding usually happens in the upper front teeth, other teeth may also get affected.

To help prevent tooth decay due to extended bottle-feeding, listed below are a few preventive measures:

Wipe baby’s gums with a clean washcloth after each feeding.
Start brushing the baby’s teeth without toothpaste, when her first tooth comes.
Clean & massage gums in areas without teeth.
Ensure that the child gets enough fluoride that helps lessen cavities.
Strictly avoid filling baby bottles with sugar water or soft drinks as sugar makes acids that attack the teeth.
Do not let the child fall asleep with a bottle containing anything besides water.
Never give the baby a pacifier dipped in anything sweet or sugary.
Reduce the quantity of sugar in the child’s diet, especially between meals.
Do not use a feeding bottle as a pacifier.
As soon as the child turns one year old, start teaching her to drink from a cup.

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