How To Prevent Nursing Bottle Syndrome

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From the time your child's baby teeth come through, special care must be take to ensure they remain healthy and strong until the permanent teeth erupt. Unfortunately, some children develop a condition known as nursing bottle syndrome shortly after their baby teeth have come through. This dental problem is caused by allowing a baby's teeth to remain in contact with sugary foods, liquids or even breast milk for extended periods of time. These foods and liquids break down to sugar when dissolved and cause the baby teeth to decay. These are some ways to prevent nursing bottle syndrome from occurring.

Bottle Feedings 

Bottles of milk or formula should only be given during regular feedings. If your baby is thirsty or needs his bottle for comfort, give only plain water with no added sugars. If you use a pacifier to soothe your baby, never dip it in sugar, honey or other sugary foods or liquids.


If your baby normally takes a bottle to go to sleep each night, the bottle should only contain plain water. During the night, milk, juice or formula is likely to stay in contact with the child's teeth longer as he gradually goes to sleep. If your baby nurses at night, do not allow him to continue to nurse throughout the night while sleeping. The natural sugars in breast milk can also cause tooth decay.

Baby Foods 

Never add sugar to your baby or toddler's food. Choose foods that do not contain added sugar to feed your child regularly. Try feeding your child fresh vegetables that have been cooked in water only. Also avoid adding sugar or other sweeteners, such as honey or syrup, to baby cereals. This also helps prevent unhealthy weight gain for your child.

Cleaning Baby Teeth 

After your child takes a bottle and eats, be sure to wipe his teeth and gums with a clean, damp cloth. This helps remove any excess sugar and plaque from the teeth that may lead to tooth decay. You can also use special toothbrushes designed for baby teeth that are soft to gently brush your child's teeth with plain water only.

Taking Your Baby To The Dentist 

Once all your child's baby teeth have come in, it is a good idea to have your baby's teeth checked by a dentist. The dentist will advise you if you need to use fluoride treatments to keep your baby's teeth in healthy condition.

For some parents, the best way to avoid nursing bottle syndrome is by taking the bottle from their babies once all the permanent teeth are visible. However, when you introduce a sippy cup to your child, it is important to make sure that sweet drinks are limited and only given along with meals and when the child is thirsty to avoid damaging the teeth.

For a pediatric dentist, contact an office such as Kids First Pediatric Dentistry.