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Nursing Caries (Nursing Bottle Caries) 

What is nursing caries?

Nursing caries is a form of tooth decay that is caused by children sleeping with bottles. This is also called baby bottle or nursing bottle tooth decay. It is caused when a child goes to bed with a bottle filled with milk or juice--anything except water. It usually affects children between the ages of one and two years. Breastfed infants who fall asleep while breastfeeding are also at risk.

What are the signs and symptoms of nursing caries?

The following are the most common signs and symptoms of nursing caries:

  • White spots on the teeth

  • Early development of cavities (brown areas on the tooth that lead to tooth destruction)

How can I prevent nursing caries?

The following are suggestions to help prevent nursing caries:

  • Do not allow your child to go to bed with a bottle filled with anything but water.

  • Wean your child from the bottle in a timely manner.

  • Begin good early mouth care of the gums and teeth.

  • Give fluoride supplementation, as recommended by your child's doctor.

  • Have early dental visits for your child.

Online Medical Reviewer: Bass, Pat F. III, MD, MPH
Online Medical Reviewer: Eakle, W. Stephan, DDS
Last Review Date: 3/26/2013
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