Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

April 13, 2016 - Dental Tips

Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Baby bottle tooth decay or early childhood caries (ECC) is decay that can happen to infants and toddlers. Even though baby teeth are temporary they are still susceptible to cavities and are equally as important as adult teeth. Children need strong healthy teeth to chew, speak and to ensure their adult teeth come in correctly. So it’s very important that parents educate themselves as well as their children on proper oral hygiene.

 So what can cause baby bottle tooth decay?

Most often it appears in the upper front teeth, but other teeth can also be affected.

The most common cause is frequent prolonged exposure to drinks containing sugar.  Decay can occur when a baby is frequently put to bed with a bottle or a bottle is used to pacify a fussy baby.

Another cause is cavity causing bacteria that can be passed through saliva between mother and child (or primary caregiver). For example, when a spoon is shared with a baby or cleans a pacifier in her mouth.

How to prevent decay

Try not to share saliva with your baby.  Do not share spoons or lick a pacifier clean.

After every feeding wipe the childs gums with a clean gauze pad or washcloth

When teeth appear, brush the teeth gently

Use only formula, milk or breastmilk in bottles.

Bottles should be finished before bedtime or naptime.

Never dip pacifiers in sugar or honey

Encourage healthy eating

Teach good oral hygiene

But they are only baby teeth?

Adult teeth or their permanent teeth are present in the jawbone from your baby’s very early years. The baby teeth act as a guide for the eruption of permanent teeth. If they are lost early the spacing for the adult teeth can be affected. It can lead to misaligned permanent teeth which may lead to other issues that could require orthodontic treatment or commonly known as braces. Early tooth loss can also make eating difficult and affect his/her ability to speak properly. Proper speech requires the presence of front teeth.


Don’t forget that important first dentist appointment…see our next blog on how to prepare your child for their first dentist appointment