Baby Bottle Rot: What is it & how can I prevent it? Jenifer Zanzonico Advancing Health Literacy Fall 2010
Who should view this module
Have a baby or young child.
Want to know more about how to care for your child’s teeth.
Are not sure what baby bottle rot is.
What is baby bottle rot?
Baby bottle rot is when a young child has a lot of cavities (tooth decay). Their teeth go bad.
Teeth go bad when germs get in the mouth and mix with sugar.
It’s called baby bottle rot since parents often put drinks in the bottle that are high in sugar.
What causes baby bottle rot? tooth germs sugar (in the bottle) tooth goes bad (rots)
Teeth are like food
Food rots when it is not taken care of (like if you leave milk out). Teeth also need to be taken care of to avoid rot. If they go bad, you have to get rid of them. Like food, teeth need to be replaced.
But won’t adult teeth grow in?
Yes – but adult teeth don’t grow in until your child is about 6 years old. Baby teeth need to be taken care of for a lot of reasons.
Baby teeth hold the place for adult teeth to grow in.
Baby teeth that go bad and are not treated can infect adult teeth that haven’t come in yet.
More effects of baby bottle rot
If your child has baby bottle rot, he or she may…
Feel pain in their mouth, often pointing at their mouth to show that they are in pain.
Not be able to eat normally since they cannot chew as well.
Not be able to talk as well as other children.
How do I know if my child has baby bottle rot?
There are many signs that your child might have baby bottle rot. Some of these signs are:
That your child shows you they are in pain.
If your child’s breath smells bad.
If you see that their teeth look like a different color than normal.
What does it look like? The next three slides will show how teeth look as they go bad. It does not look nice, so be ready!
Low levels of baby bottle rot
This means that the teeth are starting to go bad.
The arrows in the photo point to white spots on the top of the teeth.
This is where the sugar and germs are starting to build up.
Medium levels of baby bottle rot
This means that the teeth have started to go bad.
The light brown areas show that the rot has started but hasn’t spread too far.
Some of the teeth have gone bad, but not all of them. A dentist can fix this.
High levels of baby bottle rot
A lot of the teeth have gone bad and need to be taken out.
The black parts are like the black mold spots on old bread – they’ve gone bad.
A dentist can replace the teeth to keep your child healthy and looking their best.
What if my child’s teeth don’t look like this?
The next few slides will tell you about 3 main things you can do.
That’s great! You can take steps to prevent baby bottle rot.
How to Prevent Baby Bottle Rot
Take care of your child’s teeth.
This means wiping down your child’s gums after they drink something high in sugar.
When teeth start to grow in, go to the dentist and start brushing them.
You can ask Dora (at the front desk) for the module called Early Childhood Caries for more details about this.
How to Prevent Baby Bottle Rot
2. Avoid putting drinks that are high in sugar in the bottle.
How do I know if a drink is high in sugar?
Quiz: Which of these drinks has sugar in it? Milk Soda Formula Juice
Answer: They all do!
So what can be put in the bottle?
Your child may prefer a certain drink for the bottle, which is fine if you take care of their teeth.
It is best not to let your child sleep with a bottle – only if it has water in it.
Sugar drinks sit on teeth and cause them to start going bad as your child sleeps.
How to Prevent Baby Bottle Rot
3. Once teeth come in, switch from bottle to sippy cup.
It is not always easy to do this, but it will help prevent teeth from going bad.
Click here for a video on how to move from bottle to sippy cup. Note: There is a 30 second ad that will play first.
What if my child already has signs of baby bottle rot?
Don’t worry! A dentist can help fix the bad teeth.
Columbia has a clinic with dentists that can help. Click here for details.
For a list of other nearby dentists for children, click here .
You can also call the number on your dental insurance card to ask for dentists that are close to where you live.
3 Steps can help prevent teeth from going bad:
If your child already has signs of baby bottle rot, a dentist can help fix the bad teeth.
Take care of teeth at home and with a dentist.
Avoid putting sugary drinks in the bottle.
Switch from the bottle to a sippy cup.
You’re well on your way to prevent baby bottle rot and take good care of your child’s teeth. Good luck!
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American Dental Association (n.d.). Oral Health Topics: Baby Bottle Tooth Decay. Retrieved from http://www.ada.org/3034.aspx
California Dental Association (n.d.). Early Childhood Caries. Retrieved from http://www.cda.org/popup/early_childhood_caries
Columbia University (n.d.). Pediatric Dentistry Clinic, Columbia University College of Dental Medicine. Retrieved from http://dental.columbia.edu/aapd/AAPD_website/Clinic_Info.html
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MedlinePlus (2009). Tooth decay – early childhood. Retrieved from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002061.htm
Videojug (n.d.). How to Move your Baby from Bottle to Sippy Cup . Retrieved from http://www.videojug.com/interview/how-to-move-your-baby-from-bottle-to-sippy-cup