Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

What Causes Tooth Decay?

Several specific types of bacteria that live on the teeth cause decay. When sugar is consumed, the bacteria use the sugar and then manufacture acids that dissolve the teeth and cause an infection in the tooth. This infection is called decay.

What Is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?

Babies who go to bed with a bottle of milk, formula, or juice are more likely to get tooth decay. Because the sugar in formula, milk, or juice stays in contact with the teeth for a long time during the night, the teeth can decay quickly.

Some Tips To Avoid Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

  • Put your child to bed with a bottle of plain water, not milk or juice.
  • Stop nursing when your child is asleep or has stopped sucking on the bottle.
  • Try not to let your child walk around using a bottle of milk or juice as a pacifier.
  • Start to teach your child to drink from a cup at about six months of age. Plan to stop using a bottle by 12 to 14 months at the latest.
  • Don’t dip your child’s pacifier in honey or sugar.


Fluoride helps make teeth strong and prevents tooth decay. If the water where you live does not have enough fluoride, your doctor may prescribe fluoride supplements (fluoride drops or pills). Also, be sure to call your local water authority and ask if your water is fluoridated. If it is, tell your dentist or pediatrician, so that your child is not being over fluoridated.