Sometimes called “baby bottle tooth decay”, early childhood caries (ECC) is a serious disease that can destroy your child's teeth but it can be prevented.
What causes early childhood caries?
Although dental decay is a multifactorial disease one of the main factors in the development of ECC is sugar being allowed to contact the teeth for prolonged periods
- Letting your baby fall asleep with a bottle. When your baby is asleep, the liquids that contain sugar stay around the teeth and can cause decay. Even breast milk and formula contain sugar.
- Prolonged nursing with mother or allowing your baby to fall asleep while nursing.
- Allowing your infant to walk around with a bottle, sipping continuously.
Put your child to bed without a bottle...
Your child can fall asleep without a bottle. Here are five tips to try:
- Let your child take a "security" blanket, teddy bear, doll, or favourite toy to bed
- Quietly sing or play restful music
- Hold or gently rock your child
- Give your child a back rub to help him or her to relax
- Read or tell your child a story.
What are the potential effects of early childhood caries?
- Tooth decay
- Tooth loss
- Ear and speech problems
- Crooked permanent teeth
- Severe pain
- Poor self-image
How can I prevent early childhood caries?
- Get into the habit of putting your baby to bed without a bottle.
- Never put the baby to bed with a bottle filled with formula, milk, juice, sugar water, or fizzy drinks. If your baby must have a bottle to go to sleep, fill it with water.
- Do not let your infant walk around with a bottle.
- Start teaching your infant to use a cup between 6-12 months. Exchange your baby's bottle for a training cup by the time he/she is one year old.
- Check with your dental professional to make sure your child is getting enough fluoride on their teeth each day.