Baby bottle tooth decay: What you need to know

When there is sugar in the mouth, bacteria can thrive and cause acid attacks on the teeth. This is called...

When there is sugar in the mouth, bacteria can thrive and cause acid attacks on the teeth. This is called baby bottle tooth decay. For an infant, this is typical when there is milk or fruit juice that is left in a baby bottle while the child sleeps. You can help prevent this condition by not giving a sugary drink at night, not letting the child fall asleep with a bottle and not dipping a pacifier in any syrupy or sugary drink.

What it does long-term

According to WebMD, tooth decay from baby bottles can result in pain and infection, leading to removal of teeth if they become too damaged. Adult teeth come in from the "placeholders" of the baby teeth and may be affected. It can lead to crooked teeth, speech difficulties and damage to the adult teeth. Many times crooked adult teeth are from this type of tooth decay in infants.


There are more ways to prevent tooth decay from baby bottles, such as the following:

  • Clean and rub gums of the infant
  • Brush as soon as teeth begin appearing
  • Wipe down gums after feeding
  • Decrease sugar drinks, especially at night

Getting out of the habit

To get your child out of the sugary drink habit, start diluting such drinks down with water over a period of time--generally two to three weeks. Then, when your child no longer wants sugar-packed drinks, give them only water to go to sleep with. This can lead to better teeth and better health.

Atlanta pediatric dentists are trained to watch for signs of baby bottle tooth decay. Getting regular checkups while young can help lead the way to a better smile in later years, so always schedule infant dental visits for your child.

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