NIghttime baby bottles and tooth decay

My 20 month-old daughter drinks about two bottles of milk throughout the night and I am reluctant to wean her from the bottle. I feel the amount that she consumes indicates to me that her body needs the milk and I also believe in child-led weaning. I do worry about tooth decay, however, and try my best to remove the bottle when she is finished. I also brush her teeth twice a day with fluoridated water. Is there anything else, besides weaning her off the bottle that I could do to keep her from developing tooth decay?


I appreciate that you want to let your child have some independence with regard to her bottle; however, she is at great risk for developing baby bottle tooth decay. Baby bottle tooth decay can be quite devastating and painful to the child (and parent). Early detection and treatment is paramount once the process of decay has begun. Of course, it is best not to let decay begin in the first place! Only put water in her bottle during bedtime. Your daughter can still have the independence to finish with the bottle when she desires. Putting water in the bottle is much less traumatic than having to treat severe decay caused by sucking on milk or juice all night long.

"It has been estimated that 60% of the infant's total caloric intake comes from milk or formula during the first six months. By 12 months of age only 30% of the calories come from the milk or formula with the remaining 70% of the calories now made up of table foods and strained junior foods." (Braham et al., "The Textbook of Pediatric Dentistry", B.C. Decker, Inc., 1988) states: I think that children aged one to three years need 400 IU vitamin D and 800 mg calcium per day. You might check with your pediatrician for the most current information regarding dietary allowances for your daughter. I would strongly advise she obtain the required nutrition during the day. This will allow you to put her to bed with only water at night.

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