A new child in your life is a blessing. She’s a blessing that requires a lot of attention and that may prompt you to ask A LOT of questions, especially if this is your first child. One area of concern is her eating and sleeping habits. If your baby is especially fussy sometimes, you may be tempted to put her to sleep with the bottle. This can have a serious negative impact on her developing teeth. Here’s some more info on the subject.
Why Sleeping with Baby Bottles is Bad.
When your baby sleeps while sucking on a bottle, the liquid pools around her teeth while she sleeps, which can lead to cavities. This happens because the sugars in milk, juice, formula and breast milk are converted into acids by the bacteria on her teeth and gums. These acids can wear away her tooth enamel and make her more susceptible to cavities. Babies and children are especially prone to cavities due to the different pH levels in their mouths, and childhood tooth decay is an epidemic because of this.
What you can do to prevent tooth decay.
If your baby’s already in the habit of sleeping with the bottle, there are some steps you can take to mitigate the effects of the sugar and help wean her away from the habit. Start by giving her the bottle as you rock her to sleep and then put her in the crib without it. If your child’s older than 6 months, you can also dilute the bottle with water, so that it’s less concentrated with sugar. If she dislikes it, start by replacing only one ounce with water, then increase the amount of water by one ounce a day until you’re giving her only water.
You can break the association between the bottle and bedtime by slowly reducing and finally stopping the nighttime feedings. Once the bottle’s gone, your baby may have a few nights of fussiness. Rest assured that if you stick to your guns, the fussing and protests will soon fade. This is also a good time to introduce another, more suitable nighttime comfort object.
Childhood cavities are a problem, even though western dentistry has come a long way. If your baby’s approaching the 12-month mark, or if her first teeth are starting to come in it’s just about time for her first dental visit. If it’s time for the first visit, make an appointment today!