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Early Childhood Tooth Decay, also known as baby bottle tooth decay, involves the rapid decay of many or all the baby teeth.
Teeth are at risk for tooth decay from the first day the teeth appear in the mouth. The decay starts along the gum line behind the top front teeth, which makes it hard to see. It spreads from there and may affect all your baby’s teeth.
The bacteria found in your baby’s mouth play a role in tooth decay. Tooth decay bacteria are passed to the baby from others. If family members have a healthy mouth they will have less of the decay causing bacteria to pass on to their baby.
Tooth decay may happen if your child’s teeth are frequently exposed, for long periods of time, to liquids containing sugars. Fruit juice, sweetened tea, pop, breast milk, cow’s milk and formula all contain sugars than can cause tooth decay if left in contact with the teeth for a long time.
When a child uses a bottle for long periods, especially during rest or sleep times, tooth decay can develop. The bacteria turn the sugar to acid which causes the decay.
Severe Early Childhood Tooth Decay
Parents may not know there is a problem until serious damage has been done. Therefore, it is a good idea to regularly lift your child’s upper lip and check the teeth for early signs of tooth decay.