Once your child has teeth, he is susceptible to tooth decay. Mother’s milk, formula, cow’s milk and fruit juice all contain sugars.
Babies may get early childhood tooth decay from going to bed with a bottle of milk, formula or juice. Unrestricted at-will breast-feeding at night may increase the risk of tooth decay, although the majority of breast-fed children do not experience this early childhood disease.
It can happen to children up to age four. Once your child has teeth, lift his or her lips once a month and check the teeth. Look for dull white spots or lines on the teeth. These may be on the necks of the teeth next to the gums. Dark teeth are also a sign of tooth decay.
If you see any signs, go to the dentist right away. Early childhood tooth decay must be treated quickly. If not, your child may have pain and infection.
If you give your child a bottle of milk, formula or juice at bedtime, stopping all at once will not be easy. Here are some tips:
- Put plain water in the bottle.
- If this is turned down, give your child a clean soother, a stuffed toy or a blanket.
- If your child cries, do not give up.
- Comfort him or her, and try again.
- If this does not work, try watering down your child’s bottle over a week or two, until there is only plain water left.