What is “baby bottle tooth decay”?


Baby bottle tooth decay is also known as early childhood caries or nursing caries. The condition occurs when the child is overexposed to sugary liquids. Baby bottle tooth decay usually occurs when the child is routinely put to bed with a bottle containing juice, soda or milk. It can also occur from allowing toddlers to “graze” with a sipper cup. Baby bottle tooth decay often destroys permanent teeth and leads to the need for major dental treatment. The condition will damage your child’s adult teeth if left untreated.

By following the guidelines listed below, you can prevent baby bottle tooth decay from occurring.

  • Have your child drink from a regular cup by their first birthday.
  • If your child “grazes,” only allow water in any bottles or sipper cups used.
  • Clean your baby’s gums with a fresh gauze pad after each feeding.
  • Begin brushing as soon as you see the first tooth.
  • Never give your child a pacifier coated in sugar or dipped in honey.