Bed time is certainly one of the most difficult daily struggles with infants. Fussy youngsters will pull out all the stops to avoid getting a good night's rest. Many parents resort to a warm bottle of milk to help ease them to sleep. However, we must warn that this seemingly innocent technique has some serious dental consequences.
Breast milk, formula and cow's milk all contain carbohydrates like lactose and sucrose. While these aren't necessarily "sweet" like orange juice or soda, they contain enough sugars to fuel the decay causing bacteria in your child's mouth. When infants are allowed to fall asleep with a bottle, the teeth are essentially bathed in acid all night. This creates a typical pattern of decay called baby bottle mouth. Here, the cavities develop very quickly and can affect every single tooth. This is a particular problem with teeth such as the incisors, which erupt at 6-12 months and need to last until 6-7 years of age.
Our recommendation is to avoid the temptation of sleeping with a bottle all together. Even a rare occasion could turn into a difficult habit to break. If you have any more questions about childhood tooth decay and how to keep your children's teeth healthy, please give us a call!