What is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?

Early childhood tooth decay or baby bottle tooth decay is a type of tooth decay that starts in the upper incisors of the babies and advances quickly.

Baby bottle tooth decays begin with chalk-white stains occurring in the tooth enamel. Tissue losses occur in the enamel over time and chalk-white stains turn into yellow or brown. Parents usually detect such tooth decays too late.

Baby bottle tooth decays are not caused by the baby bottle, but the milk in it. Both breast milk and cow milk naturally contain rich amount of sugar (lactose). If the babies are breast fed or drink cow milk with baby bottle before or during the sleep, the milk inside the mouth creates an environment suitable for rapid growth of bacteria. Since the saliva production reduces during sleep, the dissolution of tooth enamel by the acid produced by bacteria becomes easier. Therefore, after nighttime feeding, it is important to clean the milk teeth.

How is baby bottle tooth decay diagnosed?

Baby bottle tooth decays usually begin in the upper frontal teeth (incisors). During breast feeding, the lower incisors are covered by the tongue and therefore the lower incisors are affected less by the baby bottle tooth decays. As result of the weakness of tooth enamel during the early period of teething and lack of oral hygiene habits, this type of tooth decays usually advances quickly. Most parents complaints that there is a little time between the detection of the tooth decays and spread to the all other teeth.

What are the ways to prevent baby bottle tooth decays?

  • To diagnose baby bottle tooth decays early, take your child to pedodontist before the age of one.
  • As of the age of one, do not let your child to feed during sleep.
  • Clean your baby's teeth regularly after each feeding with a clean cloth or tooth brush.
  • If you cannot clean your baby's teeth after feeding, then give the baby some water.

Do not add sugar-rich food to your baby's milk such as honey, jam, molasses.