Baby Bottle Decay (Early childhood caries)

Baby Bottle Decay (Early childhood caries)

We’ve noticed that quite a few of our patients coming in are bringing in cute little babies too! Let’s take a look at some of the dangers baby bottle decay (aka early childhood caries) can create.

We quite frequently get asked ‘is there anything I need to worry about with newborns’ teeth?’

The one issue that newborns’ parents need to keep in mind is baby bottle decay (Early childhood caries). This commonly occurs in the top front teeth and can also affect others and starts when baby’s teeth are exposed for a long time to sugar – allowing bacteria to metabolise the sugar and cause decay.

The two things we can control then are – the bacteria in bub’s mouth and bub’s exposure to sugar. The bacteria is in all adults but not in young babies. Babies will inevitably get introduced to the bacteria but lessening the load can reduce the risk of decay. For that reason it’s best to try to not share eating utensil like spoons with bub for the first few months.

Reducing sugar is also the other way to lessen the risk of decay. This includes avoiding putting sweet drinks like juices into bottles and avoiding using bottles as a pacifier. Both of these aspects lead to bubs having long term exposure to sugars on teeth and together with the metabolising bacteria can cause decay in bub’s teeth.

Baby Bottle Decay (Early Childhood Caries)
Baby Bottle Decay (Early Childhood Caries) (source: @invent via

A few tips to keep in mind when caring for bub:

  • Try not to share utensils like spoons and licking dummies.
  • After a feed, wipe your bub’s gums with damp gauze or washcloth
  • Remember to brush bub’s teeth when they first come in, and regularly every day after to enforce good habits with a non-fluoridated toothpaste.
  • Avoid filling bottles with juice – stick with breast milk, formula or water
  • Although hard to control, try to finish a feed and wipe over the mouth before putting bub to bed.
  • Don’t dip dummies into sugar or honey

A good time to bring bub into the dentist is when the first teeth start appearing so we can run through with you how to look after and clean bub’s teeth!

Deciduous teeth – When Do Baby Teeth Fall Out?

Baby teeth can sometimes be referred to as deciduous, primary or milk teeth. We often get questions about parents worried about baby teeth that have come out too early or have been retained for too long – so we’re here to with a guide of why they’re there, what to look for, when to look for it

Why do we need baby teeth?

 Although baby teeth are eventually replaced after exfoliation, it is very important to look after them as they serve several roles for kids. 

  • To use for eating a healthy nutritious diet

Having a healthy functioning baby teeth allows for great habits in chewing and eating

  • To act as a space saver for a straighter adult smile

A deciduous tooth will hold the necessary space for the adult tooth that will replace in. Each tooth also acts as a guide to help the adult tooth erupt into the right position. This is why losing teeth early through decay or trauma can sometimes lead to a lack of space and adult teeth erupting beyond their normal position

When should I expect teeth to fall out?

We get many questions and concerns about teeth that have seemingly held on forever or teeth that have exfoliated very early – especially when compared to classmates or siblings. The above chart can aid in knowing what is normal but also keep in mind there is natural variation amongst individual kids. What is also very importance is the sequence at which teeth are lost, as teeth exfoliating out of order can sometimes mean that an adult tooth is missing 

Other important things to remember about deciduous teeth include:

  • The enamel shell of baby teeth is thinner than adult teeth. Therefore it does not take long before a small hole to become large and painful.
  • Missing teeth is a generic trait – so it follows that if missing teeth are in the family, early diagnosis can open up more treatment options
  • Regular check-ups are very important in preventing small problems becoming more serious and in helping kids get used to easy dental appointments.

Please contact us on 3878 3889 or click here to ask online if you have any questions or would like to make an appointment to see the friendly team at Polished Dental!