While most parents wouldn’t dream of putting their baby or toddler to bed with a bottle of Pepsi, many parents are surprised to learn that formula, breast milk, and fruit juice also contain large amounts of sugar that can lead to infant tooth decay. When bottles containing any liquid (other than water) are given to a child at naptime or bedtime, the child’s teeth are bathed in sugar. During sleep, saliva flow decreases, permitting the sugar to pool around the baby’s teeth and gums, feeding the bacteria in plaque. Each time the child consumes another sugary liquid, the acid in the bacteria continues to attack the teeth and gums. Ultimately, the infant develops cavities, which can lead to pain, infection, and even tooth loss.
While it’s true that your child’s baby teeth are temporary, they’re important to ultimate dental health. When baby teeth are lost too early, it can lead to speech difficulties, crooked teeth, and damaged permanent teeth. All of us, children included, need strong, healthy teeth to chew our food, to speak, and for an attractive smile.