You may have heard it referred to as baby bottle decay or baby bottle rot. Early childhood tooth decay occurs when sweetened (as well as those that are naturally sweet) liquids are left to coat the developing teeth of an infant or young toddler. Some children are more prone, genetically, to teeth troubles, but that risk increases when a child is given a bottle of milk or formula as a comfort item to sleep.
Baby teeth are replaceable, or so you might think. Just because he’ll lose those in favor of gaining another set doesn’t mean care of his baby teeth should be neglected. Early childhood tooth decay of this sort often happens in the front teeth and he needs them: to chew, to smile, to speak. Take care of them.
This is a question we hear quite frequently actually. Breastfeeding at bedtime or through the night: couldn’t this have the same effect as allowing baby to suck on a bottle of formula while he sleeps? The answer is no. No analysis has proven a link between nighttime breastfeeding and tooth decay. Of course, breastfeed babies can still get cavities, so proper oral hygiene is important.
Damaged adult teeth, spacing issues, poor eating habits, speech delays: These are only a few of the potential side effects of early childhood tooth decay — not to mention the pain and embarrassment that come along with decayed, damaged or missing teeth. Do it for him. Do what you can to prevent early childhood tooth decay.