Nursing Bottle Caries

It is an age old practice to use feeding bottles at night to calm the baby and make him sleep.

  1. But have you ever thought of its consequences?
  2. Is it a right practice to allow milk to pool all around your babys teeth?
  3. Have you ever wondered why your kids front teeth looks brown and cavitated?

If yes , all these scenarios indicate one of the most faddish and prevalent disease amongst children, “EARLY CHILDHOOD CARIES OR NURSING BOTTLE CARIES”.

It is a unique pattern of dental decay in young children due to prolonged nursing habit with feeding bottle especially during night time  .

When milk or sweetened liquid pools around the teeth , it gives way for bacteria to initiate caries, as the salivary flow diminishes dramatically during sleep. Eventually, most of the teeth will be cavitated and lost before its shedding age which in turn collapses the space in the oral cavity

Decays usually appear as chalky white spots along the gum line of the upper front teeth. Outermost enamel is affected at first, followed by the next layer of dentin .In both these stages, fillings can prevent further progression .However , if left untreated , this can invade the pulpal tissue and can cause severe pain indicating pulpectomy or child root canal treatment.

Many of you might have noticed brown stumps over the front gums of your kids.

These are simply root stumps with a completely destructed crown portion indicating extraction and many may require immediate removal .This is usually seen in long standing untreated case.

Causes of nursing bottle caries

Working parents mostly relay on nursing bottles to calm the baby after long tiring work. As long as the nipple stays inside the mouth , these liquids pools all around the teeth.
Besides this, many pacifies baby’s with pacifiers dipped in sweeteners like honey, milk formulas, fruit pulps and other sugar solutions and this again adds up to caries initiation.
Lack of routine oral hygiene.
Frequent snacking.
Insufficient fluoride exposure.
Nursing bottle caries

But They’re Just Baby Teeth, Aren’t They? Also, they are just going to fall out someday , so why should I spend time on them?

You like many parents have wondered the same .

It’s a general misconception among parents that ,baby teeth are less important and only need less attention.

Is that true? Think again!

Milk tooth should be protected as much as your permanent teeth as they make way for their succesors and also maintains space in the arch . Your child needs them to speak , eat and also to smile . Early loss and untreated cavities may affect your kids oral health and self confidence in the long run. Hence , it is your responsibility to save them until capable of managing themselves.


White spots on the surface of teeth.
Tooth decay and cavities.
Fever , if infected.
Tooth pain.
Inflamed gum.


Initial cases may only require simple restorations to arrest caries. However, when the severity increases more treatment methods should be considered like Pulpectomy or Child Root Canal treatment and extractions or tooth removal.

Hence, it is wise to solve the problem at the earliest than worsening the whole scenario.

How Do We Avoid This

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Start early dental visits to maintain good oral hygiene.

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Children should not be put to sleep with feeding bottles and sweetened pacifiers.

Smiley faceAfter feeding , water should be given to flush and clean all milk remnants from mouth. Also, Gently wipe your child’s gum with a wet cloth or gauze piece to remove excess remnants.

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Oral hygiene practices should be done atleast twice a day.

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Weaning of bottle feeding should be done at right age and encourage child to use cup or glass.

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Fluoride treatment can be helpful as they prevent caries initiation.

Start brushing your baby’s tooth with a soft bristled brush as soon as the first tooth erupt into the oral cavity.

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Start flossing when more teeth erupt to ensure clean contacts.

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Shifa Dental Clinic provide team based, comprehensive dental care for children & adults including patients of all age.

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Shifa Dental Clinic provide team based, comprehensive dental care for children & adults including patients of all age.

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2022 © Shifa Dental Clinic. All rights reserved. Website Design by