Safeguarding Your Child’s Smile: Preventing Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Tooth decay is the most prevalent dental problem globally affecting millions of people irrespective of age and gender. However, infants and babies may be more prone to a type of tooth decay that commonly occurs due to contact with excess sugar. This is known as baby bottle tooth decay. 

Fairfield, ME family dentistry offers a variety of procedures that can help treat baby bottle tooth decay. Read on to learn the causes, symptoms, treatment, and prevention of baby bottle tooth decay. 

What is baby bottle tooth decay?

Baby bottle tooth decay, also known as infant caries, early childhood caries, and nursing bottle caries, is an aggressive form of tooth decay affecting mostly infants, and toddlers. It usually occurs in the front teeth, or incisors. 

What causes baby bottle tooth decay?

Baby bottle tooth decay develops when baby teeth come into frequent contact with too much sugar. Bacteria in the mouth feed on the sugar, multiply, and produce toxins and acids as waste products. The acid attacks the teeth and tooth enamel, resulting in tooth decay. Infants who are breastfed to sleep or given a milk bottle at night for extended periods are more prone to develop nursing bottle caries. 

What are the symptoms of baby bottle tooth decay?

You can expect the following signs and symptoms in baby bottle tooth decay:

  • White spots on the front teeth 
  • Pain and discomfort in the mouth 
  • Increased tooth sensitivity
  • Prominent cavities 
  • Tooth discoloration (dark brown or black)
  • Swelling around the affected teeth
  • Bad breath 
  • Extreme irritability 
  • Tooth erosion 
  • Tooth loss 

How is baby bottle tooth decay treated?

Baby bottle tooth decay can be reversed and effectively treated through the following:

  • Fluoride treatment
  • Dental fillings 
  • Pulptomy (removal of coronal pulp)
  • Pulpectomy (removal of radicular pulp)
  • Extraction for severe cases with space maintainers

How can you prevent baby bottle tooth decay?

It is possible to prevent infant or baby bottle tooth decay through the following preventive measures:

  • Don’t put your baby to sleep with a milk bottle
  • Avoid giving them excess fruit juices or sugary items like candy or lollipop
  • Clean their gums with a wet gauze after every feed
  • Brush their teeth once they erupt, twice daily 
  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and low-dose fluoride toothpaste to brush their teeth
  • Transition to a sippy cup as soon as possible
  • Encourage healthy eating habits in them
  • Hydrate them well to increase saliva production to flush out the toxins 
  • Take your baby to the dentist once in six months for checkups 


Tooth decay is common, especially among infants and young kids due to poor oral hygiene, and unhealthy eating habits. Limit the intake of sugar and encourage healthy foods, good hydration, and proper brushing to prevent or halt baby bottle tooth decay.