Many kids use bottles to help soothe themselves. However, bottles are not generally the healthiest feeding options for your child's teeth. As a result, the dentist may be encouraging you to trade the bottle for a cup.
If your child's dentist has asked you to wean the little one, there may be multiple reasons for the rush to get rid of the bottle. Here are a few of them:
As your child's teeth start to erupt, the nipple of the bottle can affect the way that the teeth present. If the nipple is not an orthodontic nipple, it may place pressure on the gums in a way that forces the teeth outward, causing an eventual bucked appearance.
Since children may use a bottle as a soothing mechanism, they may suck on the bottle repeatedly throughout the day. Long amounts of time with a bottle in a child's mouth can eventually affect the developing structure of the palate. As the normal shape of the palate is altered, so is the placement of the teeth.
With prolonged bottle use, your child can begin to suffer from a condition called baby bottle decay. The decay is cause by the pooling of the milk or juice in the mouth. Although it is not healthy for your child to sip on a bottle as he or she plays or moves about, the youngster is especially susceptible to baby bottle decay if he or she sucks a bottle to settle down during naps or other periods of sleep.
Once the child falls asleep, the sucking stops, and the swallowing reflex is reduced. Thus, the liquid from the bottle pools or settles in the mouth, bathing the teeth and gums in sugar. This causes tooth decay, because the sugar acts as a food source for the bacteria in your child's mouth.
As the microbes feed, they emit corrosive acid that inflames your little one's gums and demineralizes the teeth.
If you are transitioning your child off of the bottle but the youngster has not grown accustomed to going to sleep without a bottle, consider filling the bottle with water only. The water will not incite decay, and it can help rinse away bacteria and plaque from the mouth. In addition, the water can help dilute any acid that may be present in the oral cavity.
To learn more about weaning your child to protect his or her oral health, schedule a consultation with a dentist like Lucky Kids Dental in your area.