A Bottle at Night-time? This McMinnville Dentist says NO

Apr 21, 2014

A bad idea, even if it is a joke.

Your baby's bottle does not belong in the crib

A friend of ours posted this funny Internet meme on FB the other day. Clearly it is a joke -- no one in their right mind would think it is a good idea to put energy drinks or stew in a liquid dispenser better left for hamsters and rabbits. But that got us thinking about crib bottles in general and whether it is a good idea to give a baby a bottle at night-time.

Infants love to suckle -- the impulse to nurse and suckle at the breast is there at birth and remains strong for a few years afterwards. But while parents might think to put their baby to bed with a bottle of milk at night to help them feel comforted, your dentist will tell you that doing so may wreak havoc on young teeth just as they are appearing.


Decay infants get from having a bottle is the number one cause of cavities in infants. With teeth, you need to remember that decay can start as soon as a child's baby teeth appear. What matters is not necessarily the kind of food you are giving your child -- though sugary snacks and drinks are more harmful than healthy ones -- but the length of time young teeth encounter sugar.

What causes baby bottle tooth decay?

Tooth decay can occur when liquids are in contact with the teeth for a prolonged period of time. These include:

  • Milk
  • Formula
  • Juice
  • Kool-Aid
  • Drinks containing sugar

If you allow your child to fall asleep with a bottle in the mouth, or if the child is constantly drinking a liquid with sugar in it, the sugar will coat the upper part of the teeth and normal bacteria in the mouth will change that sugar to acid. The enamel on baby's teeth are only half the thickness of an eggshell. This makes these teeth especially vulnerable to cavities.

If your child does get these cavities, they might be treated at your McMinnville dentist or removed entirely. If they must be removed, permanent teeth may grow in crooked or crowded because the baby teeth weren't there to serve as space savers.

The answer is clear, and it's no laughing matter.

  • Never give your baby a crib bottle.
  • Don't let your infant drink constantly from a bottle all day long.
  • Get your infant interested in cups as early as seems right for then.
  • If your infant is attached to the bottle, begin to fill it with water.
  • If you notice white spots on your baby's teeth, see the dentist immediately for treatment.

If you have a child who can't stop on the bottle, come talk with us. We will help you determine if he/she may need treatment and give you advice on how to wean off the bottle carefully, safely and with minimal tears.

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