#HLWDK Daily Health Tips: Baby Bottle Tooth Decay


Ever heard of the baby bottle tooth decay?

The baby bottle tooth decay is a condition that occurs when babies’ teeth are exposed to prolonged contact with sugary liquids or substances. In children, this would occur by allowing children to go to sleep while feeding at the breast on a bottle or giving them pacifiers that have been coated with honey or other sugary substances. During sleep, saliva production reduces; thus these sugary substances which lead to the production of acids stay on the teeth for prolonged periods leading to erosion of the enamel and subsequent tooth decay.

How can you prevent this?

• Mothers are advised to practice exclusive breastfeeding but if for any reason bottles have to be used for any period, this should be carefully monitored. Ensure that baby never falls asleep with a bottle containing milk (be it expressed breast milk or formula), fruit juice (fresh or packaged) or any other sweetened fluids. This also goes for children who are breast fed. Please don’t let them fall asleep on the breast. This ensures that the baby’s teeth is not in contact with sugary fluids for prolonged periods of time. This prevents tooth decay.

• Clean baby’s mouth and gums at least once a day, gently massaging the gingivial tissues and gum. This can be done using a piece of moistened cotton gauze wrapped around a finger. This helps to clean baby’s mouth, establish the development of healthy teeth and also aid teething.

• As soon as the first tooth erupts, plaque removal should commence. Ensure that babies’ teeth are brushed at least twice a day. Before the child can spit out, please use a non-fluoride containing tooth paste. We don’t want the child swallowing fluoride and coming down with some ailments. However, as soon as the child can spit, please introduce fluorinated toothpaste.

• Wean the baby from the bottle as soon as possible and use a cup for liquids. During the weaning period, dilute the bottle feeds as much as possible to the point where only water is taken with the bottle.

• If your baby uses a pacifier, please use for only short periods of time and be sure not to coat with honey or any other sugary substance to ensure that his teeth is not in prolonged contact with substances that will lead to tooth decay.

I trust y’all are having a great weekend!

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