Early childhood caries (also called nursing/bottle decay, bottle caries, or nursing mouth) is an infectious disease. It is hard to see as it begins along the gum-line behind the upper front teeth. It then spreads to the front of the teeth.
Early childhood caries can cause painful toothaches, which can make your child sick. Decayed teeth can become infected and may need to be removed.
Early childhood caries can develop when a child’s teeth are in contact with sweet liquids like milk, formula and juice for long periods of time when nursing or using a bottle. When this happens, the bacteria that cause tooth decay (Streptococcus mutans and Lactobacilli) mix with the sugar and produce an acid which attacks the surface of the tooth.
Early treatment can prevent early childhood caries from staining or pitting permanent teeth.
Tips to prevent early childhood caries:
Bring your child to visit a dental health professional by age one. Your doctor and dentist should examine your baby’s mouth to check for normal growth, development and provide advice. Click here for Northwestern Health Unit Dental Health programs.