Baby Bottle Mouth

*See list of future topics at the bottom of this page. Feel free to offer suggestions.

And simple cavity prevention.

It may help your child relax. It may be comforting to your child. It may help your child be quiet and give you some peace and quiet. It may put your child to sleep at nap time and bedtime.

But it also leads to one of the most common pediatric dental problems.

What is it?

That baby bottle.

How can that be a problem?

Sometimes parents let their child take their bottle of juice or milk to bed with them, or give their child a bottle instead of a pacifier throughout the day. It may seem to be a helpful practice, but it actually is a recipe for tooth decay.

The simple fact is, when a child is attached to a bottle full of anything other than water, tooth decay will soon follow. The sugar found in your child’s favorite tasty drink is a feeding ground for the bacteria that is already in your child’s mouth. And when that bacteria is having a feast, acid is produced. And that acid in turn attacks the teeth. It gets even worse when your child takes that bottle to bed. Saliva flow decreases during sleep. That means all that sugary fluid your child was drinking just sits there on the teeth.

“But,” you could be thinking, “I only give my child natural drinks!” Even if you’re child is not sipping on soft drinks or artificially sweetened juices, the baby bottle in bed is still not a good idea. Even natural beverages, such as natural fruit juice, milk, and baby formula have sugar in them, albeit natural sugar. It still creates a feeding ground for oral bacteria.

When the teeth are swimming in that delicious, yet tooth decaying, liquid for extended periods of time, say goodbye to enamel and hello to cavities. Hence, the consequence of your child taking their baby bottle to bed has been called “Baby Bottle Tooth Decay.”

It’s a very common problem. But there’s not just bad news, here. There is good news! Baby bottle tooth decay is very easy to avoid.

Have your child finish her drink before heading to bed. Do not allow baby to fall asleep with that drink. Even if it’s just nap time!

“But you don’t understand! My child is fussy at nap time and bedtime. She needs the bottle to calm down and go to sleep. What do I do?”

Well, in that case fill that baby bottle up with water, instead. Water is the solution to baby bottle mouth. And [Indoctrinate] the baby from the beginning, they’ll never know the difference.

It’s a simple fact that frequent and prolonged contact with sugar causes tooth decay. The solution is equally simple. Stop the frequent and prolonged contact with sugar! The less sugar throughout the day, the better.

Actually, substituting water for all sugary drinks, at all times, is a good idea and would lessen the risks of tooth decay considerably. Avoiding sugary snacks after meals certainly wouldn’t hurt, either. And your child just might fall asleep easier, as well. Sugar is an energy booster. If you give baby sugar, don’t expect them to go to sleep!

The most important rule is: never allow your child to fall asleep with any other drink besides water. It’s water, or nothing! Water is the only safe liquid for the baby bottle.

Do that, and there will be less chance of pain and infection, and less chance of needing more serious (and expensive!) dental care at the dentist’s office. Better to prevent the problem, than have to react and try to repair the damage.

Remember: healthy baby teeth lead to healthy adult teeth, and a better life. [*teaser: see our article on dental health/overall health; sugar: the new cocaine]

You can learn more from USA Children’s Dental Foundation. Here, we want a community for concerned parents to come and learn what they can do to provide the best dental care for their children. Join the discussion at our Facebook page.

Why should you trust or listen to us? We are a unique and to our knowledge the only national children’s dental foundation of our kind. We are a 501(c)(3), a non-profit organization, run exclusively by the parents, for the benefit of the children.

For more valuable information, give us your best email address to receive free, no obligation videos to protect and care for your children. Go to (if you have not already)

Future Articles:

  • 2 Steps to Get Your Child Flossing
  • Ask the Dentist to Explain
  • Who Owns Your Pediatric Dentist?
  • Don’t Lie to the Dentist
  • Children’s dental disease connection with Respiratory Disease
  • Children’s dental disease connection with Heart Disease
  • Children’s dental disease connection with Osteoporosis
  • Mom’s dental disease connection with premature birth

If you have concerns, from how to find a dentist, how to know when to get a second opinion, how dental disease affects your children’s health, please submit a request via comment or email.

For submitting a suggestion, you’ll receive a free gift.