Photo Source: thebureauinvestigates.com Nursing Bottle Syndrome (NBS) or baby bottle tooth decay causes extensive and severe decay of baby teeth which result to children needing fillings and even extractions at a very young age.
NBS is the decay of baby teeth due to prolonged exposure to sweetened liquids or natural sugars (like milk, formula and fruit juice). Bacteria in the mouth thrive on the sugar and produce acids that attack the teeth, causing tooth decay.
This is the reason children should not go to bed while drinking formula milk or while breastfeeding -- the milk that’s not swallowed pools in the mouth and remains there all night. This is especially harmful as there is less saliva, which cleanses the mouth, during sleep. Prolonged sipping on a bottle with formula as substitute for a pacifier is also strongly discouraged.
When left untreated, decayed teeth caused by NBS can lead to poor eating habits, speech problems, crooked teeth and damaged adult teeth.
Dr. Humairah Shah, a dentist who has treated many children with NBS, shares tips on how to prevent or stop the early onset of NBS:
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Always give your child water after feeding from the bottle to rinse out any residue left from the milk or juice. If your baby wakes up at night to drink milk, keep another bottle filled with water by your bedside. When you are done feeding the baby, give him or her few sips of water to wash away the milk. The same is true for breastfeeding.
The bottle should only be used for feeding purposes and not as a habit to make baby sleep.
Juices and sodas cause erosion of the teeth surface, thus they should not be given to children. Water and fresh fruits are excellent alternatives. 4 oz is the maximum amount of juice a child should consume in a day.