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Nursing Bottle Decay

Nursing bottle decay usually occurs when infants or young children are put to bed with a bottle which contains milk, juice, coke, or something else that contains some type of sugar. The sugar remains on the teeth for 8 to 12 hours. It decays the upper teeth much more than the lower teeth. Nursing bottle decay is sneaky. It starts around the back of teeth, then progresses around the sides. By the time you can see it in the front, it is well established on the back and side of the teeth. Sometimes we can save these teeth with partial root cancel treatments and crowns, but other times the decay has progressed too far and the teeth must be extracted.

Nursing bottle decay develops extremely rapidly. It only takes a few months for this type of decay to cause extensive, sometimes irreparable damage to your children's primary ("baby") teeth. It can be present in children as young as 12 months!

Breastfeeding your child for hours each day or nursing them and putting them to bed without brushing or washing their teeth, can cause decay similar to nursing bottle decay. In addition, decay similar to nursing bottle decay can develop if your child walks around for hours each day using a bottle or sippy cup.

Tooth decay in infants can be minimized or totally prevented by not allowing sleeping infants to breast or bottle-feed. Infants that need a bottle to comfortably fall asleep should be given a water-filled bottle or a pacifier. Please let us know if you notice any signs of decay or anything unusual in your child's mouth.

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