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Cavities - What Are Baby Bottle Cavities?

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Updated April 16, 2010

Never put your baby to bed with a bottle
Photo © A.D.A.M.
Question: Cavities - What Are Baby Bottle Cavities?
Answer:

Early Childhood Cavities

Early Childhood Cavities (ECC), more commonly known as "baby bottle tooth decay" is a condition that affects children up to the age of three, or as long as they remain using a bottle. Although rare, ECC may indicate the potential risk for severe tooth decay when the child develops their adult teeth. ECC is caused by:
  • Sugars and carbohydrates in the child's diet
  • Beverages that contain sugar such as milk, infant formula, fruit juice, or any other liquid that contain or is sweetened with sugar.
  • Bacteria transferred from the caregiver to the child
  • The frequency of feedings
  • Allowing a child to fall asleep with bottle that contains any liquid other than pure water.

Prevent early childhood decay by:

  • Offering a pacifier rather than a bottle during naps and bed time
  • Speak with your dentist for advice on how to expose your child to fluoride, if it is not available through your water supply. Fluoride is recommended by the American Dental Association to strengthen teeth, which may prevent tooth decay.
  • If using a bottle during periods of sleep, fill the bottle with only pure water.

Source:

The American Dental Association. Oral Health Topics - "Early Childhood Tooth Decay (Baby Bottle Tooth Decay)"

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