What causes tooth decay?
Several specific types of bacteria that live on the teeth cause decay. The most common bacteria associated with dental decay are Mutans Streptococci. When sugar is consumed, the bacteria metabolize the sugar and produce acids that demineralize the teeth and cause infection/decay in the tooth.
What is Early Childhood Caries or “baby-bottle” tooth decay?
Early Childhood Caries or “baby bottle” tooth decay is a very serious condition in which a child’s primary teeth develop decay very early due to prolonged feeding with a bottle or from the breast. Because the sugar in formula, milk or juices stays in contact with teeth for a prolonged period of time during the night, the teeth decay quickly, often giving the impression that they have erupted with decay.
Here are some tips to avoid Early Childhood Caries:
- Put your child to bed with a bottle containing water, not milk or juice.
- Stop nursing when your child is asleep or has stopped feeding on the bottle/breast.
- Try not to let your child substitute a bottle of milk or juice as a pacifier.
- Start to teach your child to drink from a cup at about 6 months of age. Plan to stop using a bottle by 12 to 14 months of age.
- Don’t dip your child’s pacifier in honey or sugar.