How do I make my baby's diet safe for his teeth?
Eating sugary food or drinks can increase the risk of tooth decay. Starches and sugars from food produce acid and can break down the enamel (protective outer layer) of the tooth and cause the tooth to decay .Tooth decay can develop when a child uses a bottle with these liquids for long periods especially while sleeping. The liquid accumulates around the teeth and provides an environment for bacteria to grow and this causes the tooth to decay. Fruit juices, soft drinks, milk and formula contain sugars that can cause decay when they come in contact with the teeth for long periods of time. Rinse your baby's mouth with water before you put him to sleep and remove the bottle as soon as your baby is done feeding to prevent decay.
What is baby bottle tooth decay?
Baby bottle tooth decay is also known as 'early childhood caries' which is caused by prolonged contact with almost any liquid other than water. Milk, formula juices and other sweet drinks all have sugar in them. Sucking a bottle filled with liquids which have sugar in them can cause decay. To help prevent baby bottle decay, never put your child to bed with a bottle. Those children who drink from bottles while lying down may also be more prone to getting ear infections.
How do I prevent baby bottle decay (early childhood caries)?
Give your baby a bottle only during meals. Do not use a bottle as a pacifier or walk around with the bottle for extended periods of time. These practices may not only lead to early childhood caries, but children can also suffer tooth injury if they fall while sucking on the bottle. A sip of water can be given after the baby is done feeding; this will neutralise the acids in the mouth that are produced from sugars and reduce the risk of decay. Remove the bottle from the baby's mouth once he/she has fallen asleep. Teach your child to drink from a cup as soon as possible, usually by the age of 1.
When should my child give up the bottle?
It is generally agreed that babies should be weaned off the bottle by the time they turn one. Weaning the baby can be done by either stopping the bottle suddenly: cold turkey; or gradually reducing the number of times the bottle is used, by substituting the bottle with a cup during the day.