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Understanding Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Baby Bottle Tooth Decay, also known as Early Childhood Caries, or Rampant Caries, is the form of tooth decay that is seen in the deciduous teeth (primary or milk teeth). It is the defined as the presence of one or more decayed or missing primary teeth in the oral cavity. This form of tooth decay is directly associated with young children sleeping with milk bottles in their mouth.

The presence of a cariogenic substance in the mouth for a prolonged duration can render teeth highly susceptible to bacterial attacks. Milk contains a natural sugar known as lactose, which plays a critical role in the development of caries. In many cases, parents or guardians tend to add extra sugar or sweeteners in the milk bottles, thus greatly increasing the risk. The carious process thus initiated can rapidly destroy the deciduous teeth, the signs of which first appear on the anterior teeth. The American Dental Association can recognized this as a serious issue affecting the general population. However, because the culprit in this case has been identified, the condition can easily be prevented.

Here are a few ways in which parents/guardians can protect their children from Early Childhood Caries, or ECC:

  • Schedule a child’s first dental visit within six months of the eruption of his/her first tooth.
  • Make sure the child has had a complete dental check-up before his/her first birthday
  • Ensure that the child finished his/her milk before bedtime
  • Discourage at-will intake of excessively sugary liquids during the day
  • Avoid adding extra sugar to the child’s milk
  • Encourage the child to start drinking from a cup after his/her first birthday
  • Establish a dental cleaning routine to get your child in the habit at an early age

Prevention is always better than cure. With a few adjustments to your routine, and that of your child, you can help keep caries at bay. Infants depend entirely upon their parents and guardians and therefore it is the responsibility of the adults to make better decisions for them. Learn more about Baby Bottle and Rampant caries by giving us a call today!