Sat. Dec 3rd, 2022
Up to what age can the baby take a bottle without affecting

If our baby uses a pacifier, we know that it is important to remove it before 24 months, since prolonged use is related to oral malformations. But does the same thing happen with the bottle? Up to what age is its use recommended?

Dr. Juan Carlos Pérez Varela, president of the Spanish Society of Orthodontics, clarifies this and other issues related to oral health and oral hygiene of bottle-fed babies .

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The bottle should be removed between 12 and 18 months so as not to interfere with oral development

As recommended by Dr. Varela and the Spanish Society of Pediatric Dentistry, the bottle should be removed between 12 and 18 months, in order to avoid problems of malocclusion and oral disorders .

To understand this recommendation , Dr. Varela explains that the movements that the baby makes with the jaw and the tongue are very different when he is breastfed than when he is bottle fed. Thus, while breastfeeding favors oral development and reduces the risk of malocclusions, the opposite can happen with the bottle when it is used for a long time.

” With breastfeeding , the back of the baby’s tongue and hard palate catch the nipple, while making a hermetic seal with the lips . In a first phase, the soft palate and the lower jaw descend and in the anterior region they forms a vacuum, the posterior part remaining closed by the soft palate and posterior part of the tongue.In a second phase, the lower jaw advances and to make the milk come out, the baby presses the lower jaw to the nipple and squeezes it by rubbing anteroposterior, thus achieving the exit of the flow of milk. The tongue adopts the shape of a spoon to slide the milk to the soft palate”.

These incredible movements, which favor the development of the muscles and the growth of the jaw, do not occur when the baby drinks a bottle

” With the suction of the bottle the child does not close his lips with such force , and in addition these adopt an “O” shape. This prevents the oral vacuum from occurring and the action of the tongue is difficult , which moves forward against the gum to regulate the excessive flow of milk and stays flat, instead of spoon-shaped.

“In addition, there is less exercise of the oral muscles that will tend to become hypotonic , that is, with less muscle tone. Therefore, the harmonious growth of bones and cartilage will not be favored, leaving the lower jaw in its distal position”

That is why Dr. Varela recommends giving up the bottle progressively from 12 months , replacing it with learning cups or glasses that favor the transition from suction feeding to chewing feeding. From 18 months chewing is already more efficient, so the bottle should be definitely abandoned.

In addition, it is recommended that bottles with anatomical nipples with small holes be chosen, as they favor the anterior movement of the jaw and the coordination of sucking, swallowing and breathing.

Be very careful with baby bottle cavities

From the SEDO they also recommend paying close attention to the so-called “baby bottle caries” , which can appear at the moment the first teeth erupt. To avoid them we must follow the following advice regarding the use of the bottle :

  • The baby should not get used to sleeping with a bottle or using it as a pacifier to fall asleep, as this bad habit makes the milk sugar remain in the mouth for many hours, mixing with oral germs and bacteria and causing early wear of the teeth
  • If the baby falls asleep at night while taking the bottle, we must clean his mouth and gums well after feeding.
  • The bottle should only be used to offer the baby milk or water . Pediatricians do not recommend giving children juices or other sugary drinks
  • If despite the recommendations of the experts, parents decide to offer juice to their baby, it is important that they do so in a cup and not in a bottle, never offer it at night and clean the child’s teeth afterwards.