BABY BOTTLE DECAY
Early Childhood Caries
If mothers had untreated tooth decay,
their children had four times the risk of decay compared with children
of other mothers. If mothers consumed large amounts of sugar,
their children had four times the risk of tooth decay compared with
children of mothers with low sugar consumption.
The type of decay that occurs soon after a
primary or baby tooth has erupted is call early childhood caries or baby
bottle tooth decay. It is the presence of one or more decayed
surface in a baby tooth in children under 3 years of age. This
disease process develops much more rapidly than cavities or decay in
older children or adults!***
CAUSES PAIN FOR YOU BABY.
Baby bottle decay
syndrome is a form of tooth decay that can destroy
the teeth of an infant or young child. This decay may even enter the
underlying bone structure, which can hamper development of the
permanent teeth.** The teeth most likely to be damaged
are the upper front teeth. These teeth are critical to your child's smile
It is caused by frequent
and long exposure of your child's teeth to liquids containing sugar such as
milk, formula, fruit juices, pop and other sweetened liquids. This sugary
liquid can cling to teeth or gums for long periods to cause destruction
of enamel, pain, sensitivity and even nerve infection.
sugar is fuel for the bacteria in your child's mouth. This bacteria
produce acids that attack tooth enamel. The length of time these liquids
are in contact with their teeth is critical. The longer and more frequent
the exposures allow greater damage to occur!
between a mother's oral health and that of her child is
important. Dental cavities are an infectious disease
and reducing a mother's
cavity-causing bacteria will limit the amount of bacteria that is
passed on to her baby.
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childhood decay dramatically increases a child's risk of future dental
decay. These children may develop:
poor eating habit
One of the
best predictors of future cavities is past caries experience.
With children under the age of 5, a history of previous dental
decay will classify a child as highest risk for future
decay. A history of cavities in baby teeth is the best and most consistent
predictor of future cavities.*
5-10 % of young
children have early childhood cavities. Treatment of of this condition
may require extensive dental work, crowns and tooth
extraction. The cost can range from $1,000-3,000.00 per
child. If general anesthesia is used the cost can be as much as an
who have nursing bottle cavities have a high incidence of developing future
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are things you CAN DO to PREVENT baby bottle decay:
Wipe their teeth and gums with a damp
washcloth after each feeding.
Brush their teeth as soon as the first tooth
Remember to continue to clean and massage
their gums in all the other areas that remain toothless.
Floss their teeth
as soon as the teeth begin to touch.
Examine their teeth by
lifting a child's lip to look for decay on the outside and
inside surfaces of the four upper front teeth once a
Do not put your baby to bed with a bottle at
night or at nap time. During sleep the flow of saliva decreases so it
can not "wash" away the sugar. Sleeping with a bottles or a cup
also allows these liquids to pool around their teeth for long periods of
time to cause decay.
If you must put them to bed with a bottle
fill it with water or give them a clean pacifier.
During the day do not give your baby a bottle
filled with sweet drinks to use like a pacifier.
Reduce frequent sugar
Don't add sugar
to your baby's food to make it taste better
Do not dip a pacifier in anything sweet like
sugar or honey.
By their 1st birthday teach them how to drink
from a cup.
Don't let them drink juices, milk or sugar
containing drinks from a sippy cup all day.
Drink fluoridated water or if your water
does not have fluoride ask your dentist for
vitamins with fluoride.
See your dentist between the ages of 6-12
If you suspect that your child has a dental
problem take them to see their dentist as soon as possible.
Good oral health should
begin at birth and last a lifetime!
Children see dentists to late and too
seldom. Dental home care is not adequately reinforced by parents according
to the oral surgeon's report.*
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DID YOU KNOW?
Early Childhood Caries
The four upper incisors are usually the most severely affected, since they are among the first teeth to erupt and therefore have the longest exposure
to the cariogenic challenge. Moreover, the nursing liquid always pools
around these four teeth. The mandibular incisors are more resistant to
Click here for information on infant
Healthcare for Babies
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Varnish Helps Prevent Tooth Decay in Very Young Children
Fluoride varnish reduces
the incidence of early childhood tooth decay in combination with
oral health counseling for parents, according to a study by
investigators at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF)
School of Dentistry.
The children were randomized into three groups: those receiving
fluoride varnish twice per year, those receiving it once per year,
and those not receiving it at all. Of the initial 376 children
enrolled, 280 completed the study.
The study found that the children who did not receive any
fluoride varnish were more than twice as likely to develop tooth
decay as the children who were assigned to the annual fluoride
varnish group. Children who did not receive fluoride varnish were
nearly four times more likely to develop tooth decay than those
assigned to receive it twice per year (four treatments over two
Study results appear in the February 2006
issue of the Journal ofDental Research and online at http://
First, the results support the use of fluoride varnish to prevent
tooth decay in very young children. Second, the results support
parents bringing children for their first dental visit at age 1,
when they are getting their first teeth. Fluoride varnish is
relatively inexpensive, easy to brush onto a child's teeth, and can
be part of a positive first dental visit to help prevent tooth
decay. In contrast, when very young children get cavities, it is
difficult for them to sit still for dental treatment. Often, young
children needing many fillings receive care in the operating room,
at great expense to their family and with the additional risks posed
by general anesthesia. We now have an easy, low-cost way to keep
Fluoride varnish is a resin containing concentrated fluoride that is
brushed on teeth the same way that nail polish is painted onto
nails. It is meant to enhance fluoride's potential therapeutic
benefit by keeping the tooth enamel in contact with it. Other
studies have shown that fluoride varnish helps prevent tooth
decay for older school-age children who have their permanent teeth.
Source: UCSF News Services cited adha.org
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The increased caries risk for toddlers who use the duck-billed cups,
often carrying with them and sipping throughout the day can cause
cavities. Spill-proof cups are more like a
bottle than a cup. These cups are an effective tool for shifting
children from baby bottles to regular cups, but parents should use the
cups only as a transitional device because tooth decay remains the
most common chronic childhood disease-five times as
common as asthma.
Prolonged use of the cup also inhibits the
development of muscles needed for proper speech. You should not to
allow your child to suck on the cups throughout the day. "Sippy
cups are great; however a traditional cup is even better."
response to the “sippy cup dilemma”…..
As a licensed practicing Speech Language
Pathologist, I have observed the damaging impact on oral-motor
musculature, swallowing patterns, dentition, and speech/articulation
development as a result of chronic sippy cup use. This is especially
true with the "new" totally spill proof sippy cups that have a
stopper and the only way to drink is to suck. Maintaining a sucking
pattern while drinking interferes with the development of adult swallow
patterns and directly impacts on oral-motor muscle development, speech,
and articulation development. Sippy cups were/are meant to
TRANSITION a child from bottle to regular cup. A child is
transitioned from a bottle at a certain age to encourage proper oral-motor
musculature development and development of an adult swallow pattern.
In my opinion, chronic use of a pacifier, bottle, and/or sippy cup during
this time FREQUENTLY results in oral-motor and/or speech disorders,
malocclusion, and "tongue thrust" swallowing patterns. I
also agree that chronic use of a sippy cup may be one of several
contributing factors for a particular child with speech/articulation
delays. Once a child has been identified as having
oral-motor/speech/articulation deficits, removing pacifiers, sippy cups,
and/or thumbs will at least contribute to increased rate of progress in
therapy. Many parents
continue chronic use of sippy cups until age 3 to 4 (or later). It
is not the sippy cup that is the problem, but in how it is used, and how
parents are not informed as to the dangers and risks of not using it
properly: as a transitioning tool rather than as a "pacifier for the
carpet or car".
Lori Johnston, M.A., CCC-SLP
; Licensed Speech Language Pathologist
New Jersey, USA
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Awareness, Preventing Pain: Facts on Early Childhood Caries
Church, Management of Early Childhood Caries. Oral Health. January 2001: Courtesy
of Hygiene Cyber Notes
* Dental Economics, Feb 2001
**AGD Impact July 2001
How To Win The Battle against BBTD; Dentistry Today;
***Oral Healthcare for Infants; Dr. Lott; Dentistry Today; pgs 64-67
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Institute of Dental And Carniofacial and Research National Institutes of Health.
Maternal and Child Health Bureau.
February 06, 2008
*Caries Risk Assessment and
Prevention. Dr. Kanellis, University
of Iowa College of Dentistry, 8/02.
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