(HealthDay News) -- Baby bottle tooth decay is caused by prolonged contact with almost any liquid other than water. The condition can stem from putting your baby to bed with a bottle of formula, milk, juice, soda or other soft drink, or by allowing your baby to suck on a bottle or breast-feed for a prolonged period, either while awake or asleep.
Take these steps to help prevent decay, advises the American Academy of Pediatrics:
- Never put your child to bed with a bottle.
- Only give your baby a bottle during meals.
- Teach your child to drink from a cup as soon as possible, usually by age one.
- Keep your baby's mouth clean.
- Use water and a soft child-sized toothbrush for daily cleaning once your child has seven to eight teeth.
By the time your toddler is 2, you should be brushing his teeth once or twice a day, preferably after breakfast and before bedtime. Once you are sure your child will not swallow toothpaste, you should begin using one that contains fluoride.