Can nursing cause cavities? What about bottles and bottle rot? How do I prevent decay caused as a result?
The natural sugars found in breastmilk, formula, and any liquid that may contain sugar/acid, can cause cavities when the decay-causing bacteria are present. However, the decay that can be associated with nursing or bottle-feeding can certainly be prevented! Avoid nursing your child to sleep or sending them to bed with anything except water in their bed-time and nap-time bottles. As infants, it is recommended to brush or wipe the gums and teeth with a soft bristle infant toothbrush or a wash cloth after each feeding. When your baby has several teeth, if you are feeding before bed, be sure to brush with a fluoridated toothpaste and floss just before bed to ensure sugars/acids/bacteria have been removed from the teeth and gums.
When can my child start using fluoride toothpaste?
You can begin using fluoride toothpaste after the eruption of their first tooth! Using a rice-sized amount (under the age of 3 years) or pea-sized amount (3-6 years) appropriate to the child’s age, will aid in the prevention of early childhood cavities. We recommend parents supervise and place fluoridated toothpaste on their child’s toothbrush to ensure the proper amount is applied. This small amount is enough to be safe and effective in the prevention of cavities. Parents should encourage their children to spit out any excess toothpaste.