Tooth decay in children
Breast milk, baby formula, cow’s milk and fruit juice ALL contain sugar.
Babies MAY develop cavities if they:
- Fall asleep while drinking a bottle of milk, formula or juice;
- Fall asleep at their mother’s breast with milk still in their mouths.
This type of cavity can occur up to the age of four. Once your child has teeth, check them every month. Look out for stains or dull white lines on the teeth along the gums. Also watch for discoloured (dark) teeth. If you see any of these signs, make an appointment with your dentist right away. Cavities in young children must be treated quickly, otherwise they could experience pain and develop an infection. If you give your child a bottle of milk, formula or juice at bedtime, stopping all at once WON’T be easy.
Here’s what to do:
- Put plain water in the bottle only.
- If your child refuses it, give him a clean soother, stuffed toy or blanket.
- If he cries, don’t give up.
- Comfort him and try again.
If this doesn’t work, try watering down your child’s bottle over a week or two until there is ONLY water left. If your child falls asleep while nursing, try to take him off the breast while he is still awake.