Dr. Judith Buys and Associates

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Baby Bottle Syndrome

Many parents are unaware that their infant child is susceptible to dental decay. Called baby bottle syndrome or baby bottle decay, this refers to tooth decay occurring when liquids containing sugar remain in a baby’s mouth for a long period of time.

Usually this is caused when a baby falls asleep while nursing a bottle or breast-feeding. While the child is asleep, the sugary liquid pools around the front teeth. Liquids high in sugar content include formula, milk, juice, pop, breast milk and a pacifier dipped in honey or syrup.

Baby bottle syndrome can lead to tooth aches, decay, difficulty feeding and loss of baby teeth, which can then lead to speech problems, changes in the development of the jaw and improper eruption of the permanent teeth.

To prevent baby bottle syndrome gently wipe your baby’s gums with a washcloth or gauze pad after feeding. Never put a baby to bed with a bottle! If your child requires a bottle to fall asleep use water only. Be sure to use a soft toothbrush as soon as the first tooth comes in. Once your child reaches between the ages of two to three the first dental visit should be booked.