Parents Beware of Bottle Mouth Syndrome

Parents should be aware of Bottlemouth syndrome. It is a special form of tooth decay in very young children, caused by prolonged exposure to milk or sugary liquids. Your child  may be at risk for bottlemouth syndrome if they take bottles of milk or juice to bed at naptime and bedtime. It can also occur if they carry sugary beverages or milk around during the day, but it is most common in the upper front teeth. Children with bottlemouth syndrome often need oral surgery with general anesthesia.

What you should look for if you suspect your child may have bottlemouth syndrome:

  • Red gums
  • Irritated mouth
  • Teeth that do not look normal

Here’s what you should do if you suspect your child has bottlemouth syndrome:

  • Do not give your child a bottle of milk or juice (or any fluid containing sugar) at naptime, bedtime, or to carry around during the day. Only feed your child at specific meal and snack times.
  • Give your child water after a feeding to rinse sugary liquid off their teeth.
  • Give only water or don’t give a sleep-time bottle.

Caregivers should do the following:

  • Talk with parents about the need to have their child’s teeth examined by a medical provider.

The information contained on this article should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician or pediatric dentist. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.


Sources: healthychildren.org  and First Aid for Families (PedFACTs) (Copyright © 2012 American Academy of Pediatrics)

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