What is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?

Prevent baby bottle tooth decay by practicing better oral hygiene early in life.

Your child will lose their baby teeth so you may not think they are important, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. After all, these teeth help your child form words and chew food. They are also placeholders for where permanent teeth will eventually go. Your family dentistry team is seeing more and more children and infants in Tustin, CA, who have decay. Dr. Shirley Santos can help you provide your child’s teeth and gums with the proper care they need to stay healthy.

Stop Sharing Pacifiers

Your child drops their binky on the ground. What do you do? If your first answer is to suck on it to clean it off before popping it back in your baby’s mouth, that’s the wrong answer. Your mouth is teeming with bacteria that baby’s mouths haven’t been introduced to yet. By swapping saliva you’re also swapping bacteria that could put your child at an increased risk for decay. So have a backup binky on hand or something to safely sanitize it when on the go with your little one. Do not share eating utensils with your child for the same reason.

No Sugary Beverages

You may have heard that adding a little sugar to water and placing it in your baby’s bottle could relieve constipation or even help them sleep better. Sugar increases plaque buildup, which leads to decay. There is no reason an infant or toddler should have sodas, juices, or sugar water in their bottles. The only things that should be in their bottles are breastmilk, formula, or plain water.

Practice Good Oral Hygiene

Even before your child’s teeth erupt, it’s important to practice good oral hygiene. You should gently wipe your child’s mouth with a clean washcloth between feedings to remove any bacteria. Once teeth erupt, you’ll want to brush them with a child’s toothbrush and child-safe toothpaste the size of a grain of rice until they are 3 years old. Once your child turns 3 years old you can clean their teeth with a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste until six years old. If you have questions about how to properly care for your child’s smile, our Tustin, CA, family dentistry team is here to answer any of your questions.

Don’t Let Kids Carry Around a Bottle

Just as snacking all day can increase plaque buildup and increase our risk for decay, it’s equally as important to prevent long feedings or exposure to drinks for any long periods of time. You may think it’s okay to let your child wander around with a sippy cup to drink from all day long, but this could actually increase their risk for decay. You should also avoid letting your child sleep with a bottle.

Are you looking for a family dentistry team in Tustin, CA, that can provide your whole family with the checkups, cleanings, and the dental care they need? Dr. Santos and the team are here to provide gentle, expert care. To schedule an appointment, simply call (714) 368-0222 today.

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Shirley Santos, DDS, Inc.


9:00 am-5:00 pm


9:00 am-5:00 pm


9:00 am-5:00 pm


9:00 am-5:00 pm


9:00 am-5:00 pm


9:00 am-2:00 pm (Twice a month)