Tips to avoid Baby Bottle Syndrome
Comforting your baby with a bottle of warm milk at bedtime can actually lead to rampant tooth decay known as Baby Bottle Syndrome. The liquid from milk, formula, breast milk or juice pools in the baby’s mouth, and if overlooked, turns into acid by natural bacteria living in the mouth, and that causes decay.
Since children lose their first set of teeth, parents don’t always give much thought to oral health until a child’s permanent teeth begin to appear. However, to maintain excellent oral health throughout one’s life, it’s important to begin at birth.
“Many parents think of baby teeth or gums as temporary when they are actually ‘parking spaces’ for adult teeth,” says Dr. Aubey Banack, Dentist at The Scarborough Hospital. “Keeping those spaces healthy is critical to ensuring your child has good oral health in the future.”
Dr. Banack adds that if parents give their child a bottle before bed, it’s important to wipe their gums with a towel to remove the excess liquid. This can also introduce your child to an oral sensation which prepares them for toothbrushes and floss as they get older.
To avoid poor oral health or Baby Bottle Syndrome, Dr. Banack shares some tips to help ensure your baby grows strong and healthy teeth and gums:
• Clean your baby’s teeth and/or gums daily to remove any excess liquids
• Try to limit the amount of times your baby spends eating from a bottle i.e., do not use a bottle as a pacifier
• Do not allow your child to fall asleep with a bottle filled with milk, juice or formula
• If your baby is thirsty and has already eaten, water is a healthy alternative to juice or milk
• Avoid coating your baby’s pacifier with something sweet such as honey
• Visit your dentist even before your baby cuts his/her first teeth to ensure there are no developing issues
• Following your baby’s first tooth, schedule regular dental appointments for your child
Mothers who are nursing should remember to take the same precautions when their baby is finished eating. Breast milk can also collect in the baby’s mouth and cause decay. Be sure to wipe any liquids including breast milk with a towel before putting your baby down for a nap or to sleep.