Early Childhood Tooth Decay

What Causes Tooth Decay?

When sugar is consumed, the bacteria living on teeth eat the sugar and make an acid that dissolves the tooth surface and leads to an infection in the tooth. This infection is called decay.

What Is Early Childhood Tooth Decay?

Babies who go to bed with a bottle of milk, formula, or juice are more likely to get tooth decay. Because the sugar in formula, milk, or juice stays in contact with the teeth for a long time during the night, the teeth can decay quickly.

Some Tips To Avoid Early Childhood Tooth Decay

  • Do not put your child to bed with a bottle of milk or juice.
  • Plan to stop using a bottle by 12 to 14 months at the latest.
  • Don’t let your child walk around with a bottle or sippy cup of juice or any other sweet drink.
  • Don’t dip your child’s pacifier in honey or sugar.

What Is Fluoride?

Fluoride helps make teeth strong and prevents tooth decay. If the water where you live does not have enough fluoride, your doctor may prescribe daily fluoride supplements (fluoride drops or chews). Only give as much as the directions say to use because too much fluoride can cause spots on your child’s teeth. Also, be sure to call your local water authority and ask if your water is fluoridated. If it is, tell your dentist or pediatrician so that your child is not receiving too much fluoride.