Nursing Bottle Caries

Pacifying the baby by using a feeding bottle is done by most new parents, but it is important to keep a tab on how much the bottle is being used. The studies and case histories of many kids prove that extensive use of nursing bottles affects the child’s oral health and teeth structure, leading to nursing bottle caries, early loss of teeth and crowding and malpositioned teeth in adult life. SmileMint Studio, Delhi customizes dental treatment plans in children’s dentistry according to the needs of every kid. Nursing bottle caries is one of the common dental issues seen in kids, but if not treated at the right time, it may lead to many dental complications when the child is grown up. Let us read on to know more about nursing bottle caries.

Nursing Bottle Caries

What Is Nursing Bottle Caries?

Nursing bottle caries or cavities are formed on the baby’s tooth and lead to decay, damaging the teeth. Often kids are seen holding a pacifier or nursing bottle for a longer duration for having sugary drinks or juices leads to cavity formation and tooth decay. 

Reasons for Nursing Bottle Caries

The sugar content in the juices, formula, and milk stays on the baby’s teeth for a long time, which leads to bacterial attack converting the sugar to acidic content that affects the teeth enamel, causing tooth decay. 

Some of the reasons for caries are:

  1. Feeding milk and juices in a bottle
  2. Breastfeeding the babies at night to put them to sleep
  3. Using pacifiers by coating them with artificial sweeteners or honey to stop the baby from crying
  4. Habit of keeping sweeteners in baby’s mouth prolonged time

Symptoms of Nursing Bottle Caries

Different children experience different symptoms of nursing caries. Some common symptoms observed are white spots on the teeth, discoloring of teeth to brown color, fever caused by gum infection, and some experience pain and swelling too.  

How to Prevent Nursing Bottle Caries?

  1. Avoid giving sugary treats after meals.
  2. Stop the usage of the bottle once the baby turns one year
  3. Preferably dilute the juice with water while giving it to babies to avoid concentrated sugar content
  4. Do not give anything other than water in the bottle when the baby goes to bed. The saliva secretion is less in sleep, and any sugary content food sticks to the teeth causing bacteria formation
  5. Strictly avoid coating the pacifier with any sugary syrup
  6. Use nursing bottles only for milk, water, and formula
  7. Avoid any sugary drinks before bedtime for babies

It is natural for many of us to choose easy techniques to soothe the baby, and tasty sugary foods are part of it. Avoid these immediately to prevent babies from getting nursing bottle caries.


1. Is It Possible to Reverse the Nursing Bottle Caries?

Nursing bottle caries are reversible only when detected at an early stage. Fluoride treatments are used to reverse it. But if tooth decay is spread, therapeutic methods are the only way to treat the cavities. 

2. When Should Bottle-Feeding Be Stopped in Babies?

The dentists recommend stopping bottle feeding in babies when they are of age between 12-18 months. It is easier to stop bottle feeding at this stage since the babies get enough nutrients from the food consumed daily. 

3. Will There Be Speech Issues Due to Bottle Feeding?

Prolonged bottle feeding indeed affects the ability to speak in kids. The excess use of the feeding bottle causes an open jaw that makes it difficult for the child to pronounce a few words. Using a pacifier also affects speech development in kids since there will be restricted tongue movement in the presence of a pacifier. 

4. Which Baby Teeth Are Affected by the Nursing Bottle?

The upper incisors and molar teeth are severely affected by the nursing bottle.

5. Which Part of the Baby’s Teeth Is Not Affected by Nursing Bottle Syndrome?

The lower incisors and molars are not least affected by the nursing bottle syndrome.

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