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Is It OK That My Baby Is 18 Months & Still Taking A Bottle? Let's Ask An Expert

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Unlike the natural milestones your child will reach, there are certain milestones that require parental guidance. But because life with a toddler can get hectic, you may not get to certain milestones in the recommended time frame, like bottle weaning. If your toddler is refusing to give up his milk bottle, you may wonder, "Is it OK that my baby is 18 months and still taking a bottle?"

Romper spoke with dentist Dr. Chris Kammer, founder of the American Academy for Oral Systemic Health, who says babies should be getting off of the bottle at age 1 because that is when they become more ambulatory and may begin roaming the house with bottle in hand. It’s even worse, he adds, when these babies are put to bed with a bottle.

“You've probably heard the popular dental phrase, ‘Sip all day and get decay’,” says Kammer, "and it certainly applies to this situation.” He explains that sipping on a bottle continuously through the day can become a big proble, because toddler formulas and fruit juices, whether they are in a bottle or a sippy cup, feed the acid-producing bacteria that cause tooth decay.

Acid production in the mouth, explains Kammer, peaks in 10 minutes following every consumption. “If consumption occurs often throughout the day (or night),” adds Kammer, “the child's mouth turns into a strong acid bath negatively impacting the teeth, with higher risk of enamel loss and a rise in tooth decay.”

While you try to wean your toddler off of the bottle, it’s important to keep his teeth healthy. Kammer suggests that because bacteria is such a major player in the decay process, you should try to keep bacteria under control with good oral home care that includes utilizing the powerful impact of xylitol, which can be found in products such as Spry Dental Defense. He notes that xylitol’s main ability is to protect teeth by neutralizing acids. “With xylitol usage,” adds Kammer, “you increase alkalinity, stop the damage, and increase the uptake of reparative minerals to make your child’s teeth stronger.”

If your baby is still using a bottle at 18 months, it’s a good idea to begin introducing sippy cups and straws to gently wean them off, so you can avoid dental issues in the future. Talk to your child's pediatrician if your little one is super resistant to the idea.