Baby Bottle Decay Syndrome

The most important gift you can give your child on their first birthday is a cup to drink from and the vow to never again give them a bottle!

Children who are on the bottle or nurse after their first birthday have a good chance of getting baby bottle decay which manifests itself by causing decay on most if not all baby teeth. The effect of using the baby bottle past age one can be crippling to your child's teeth. It is not uncommon to see a 2 or 3 year old with decay on all their front and back teeth because of their dependency on the bottle.

To make matters worse, children at this age have a very difficult time facing dental treatment. Those with baby bottle decay can need up to 14 fillings, crowns and/or extractions. It is necessary for many of these children to be admitted to a hospital and have their work done under general anesthesia in an operating room. This, of course, can be very costly, hospital charges often being greater than the dental charges.

We are able to treat these kids with sedatives in our office; however, this is very difficult, tedious work. Because of their age, even with sedation, these children are not very cooperative. It is not uncommon for the child to move around and cry, even with sedative drugs, making for a very difficult appointment for the child, for the parent, and for the dentist.

Parents do many things to assure their children are healthy. Inoculation against childhood diseases, using car seats and seat belts, ensuring their kids get proper exercise, eat right and brush their teeth after meals - these are all important preventive measures practiced by most parents to assure the good health and welfare of their children.

With health care reform in the works, all children will soon have access to medical care. Unfortunately, dental care will not be included in this reform. Therefore, it is our responsibility to do those things that will assure our continued good dental health and that of our children.

The tragedy is that all the expense and trauma of baby bottle decay can be avoided by simply throwing away all bottles on a child's first birthday. Back to newsletter index