An all too common occurrence for a kid’s first visit to the dentist is the diagnosis of bottlemouth syndrome. It can be prevented. It does take discipline on the part of the parents, starting at birth though.

It is too tempting, especially for new parents who are overly tired, to let a baby having a bottle to put him or her to sleep. The thought at the time is that it can’t hurt because the baby doesn’t have teeth yet. This establishes a habit as the baby becomes used to it and expects it. Then, when teeth are about ready to come in and the parents want to stop the habit, the baby cries until he or she gets what the customary bottle at naptime or bedtime.

When a baby is falling asleep isn’t the only time that bottlemouth syndrome can develop, especially for babies old enough to carry around a bottle. Babies and toddlers who have a bottle of milk or juice nearly all the time have a greater exposure to the sugars in the liquids.

Just what is bottlemouth syndrome and how is it recognized? It is a particular type of tooth decay found in very young kids and as the name indicates, it is common in kids who frequently have a bottle of milk, juice or some other sugary drink with them. The upper front teeth are the teeth most often affected. Kids with bottlemouth syndrome will likely have an irritated mouth, red gums and abnormal looking teeth.

It can be prevented with diligence in not allowing your baby to have a bottle at bedtime, whether at night or for an afternoon nap. This needs to start from birth so it never becomes a habit. As the baby gets older, don’t let him or her carry a bottle around all the time. Limit it to mealtimes or snack times. After every meal or snack, give your kid water so any sugary liquid is rinsed off the teeth. If you must give your baby a bottle at sleep time, make sure it is only water. If this is practiced from birth, your baby won’t expect anything but water when down for a nap or at bedtime.

As important as it is for parents to do what is necessary to prevent bottlemouth syndrome, it is just as important that anyone else who may be caring for the baby to be just as diligent. With everyone involved in the prevention of this very preventable type of tooth decay, your kid’s first visit to the dentist will be a good one as your kid will have a great start in good oral health.