Melbourne: In wake of rising rates of severe tooth decay in infants as young as 12 months, a leading children`s hospital in Australia has urged parents to stop bottle-feeding their babies.
According to Children`s Hospital at Westmead, prolonged feeding with bottles and infant formula are linked to the problem, especially at night, when children suck on bottles in their cots for extended periods, a newspaper reported.
Naturally occurring lactose was present in both breast milk and formula. When combined with plaque in a baby`s mouth, it could erode the enamel of primary teeth, said Associate Professor Richard Widmer, the hospital`s head of dental services.
"Ideally, children should go straight from breast to cup, avoiding bottles altogether," Widmer said.
He said the hospital had been removing teeth, under general anaesthetic, from babies as young as 12 months due to bottle-feeding infants at bedtime.
Paediatric dentists had noticed a pattern of decay on the back of the upper front teeth, indicating the cause was drink from a bottle that had been held between the child`s tongue and teeth for prolonged periods.