Early Childhood Caries or Baby Bottle Syndrome is the rapid decay of baby teeth in an infant or child from frequent exposure, for long periods of time, to liquids containing sugars. The upper front teeth are most commonly affected.
The problem is usually caused by a baby falling asleep while nursing a bottle or while breast feeding. While the child is asleep, the sugary liquid pools around the front teeth. The bacteria living in every baby's mouth then turns the sugars to acid which causes decay.
Common sources of liquids high in sugars are:
- A bottle containing formula, milk, soda, or juice
- A pacifier dipped in honey
- Breast milk
You can help prevent Early Childhood Caries by:
- Cleaning your child's teeth daily
- Not allowing your child to fall asleep with a bottle filled with juice, milk, or formula
- Not allowing your child to sip on a bottle filled with juice, milk, or formula for long periods of time as a pacifier
- Giving your child plain water when he or she is thirsty
- Making sure your child gets the fluoride needed to prevent decay
- Making regular dental appointments for your child beginning when their first tooth erupts
Your Dentist can provide you with more information which can improve the care of your child's teeth and maximize their oral health.