Our dentists recommend that babies give up the bottle entirely by their first birthday. That's because longer bottle use may lead to cavities or other health risks for children.
It's important for parents to start weaning babies from bottles around the end of the first year and start getting them comfortable drinking from cups. The longer you wait, the more attached your little one may become to their bottle and the harder it can be to break the habit.
Ditching The Baby Bottle
A bottle may seem harmless, but prolonged bottle feeding poses oral health risks for children.
Nursing on a bottle throughout the day means regular contact with milk or juice, which can lead to cavities and tooth decay. Giving a baby a bedtime bottle is often the biggest cause of early decay. The sugars in these liquids pool around the teeth and gums and feed the bacteria that cause plaque.
The way babies suck on bottles can also affect the development of their muscles, mouth, and palate, which can affect their teeth and create misalignment issues.
Avoiding Early Decay
The key to avoiding early tooth decay is to move your child from a bottle to a regular cup as soon as possible.
Whether or not your child still uses a bottle, helping them to take good care of their teeth will pave the way for good healthy adult teeth.
Even before you see any teeth, always clean your baby's gums after a feeding. Once your child’s first tooth comes in, start to brush their teeth with soft bristled toothbrush and child-safe toothpaste. As soon as they have two teeth next to each other, you should also start flossing them.