You may have heard the term baby bottle tooth decay, or perhaps one synonym: Early childhood caries (ECC), or baby bottle syndrome. All these terms refer to tooth decay in young children. Often decay occurs in young children because of their propensity to fall asleep with a bottle full of formula, breast milk, or juice — which puts the child at higher risk for tooth decay. According to researchers, the definition of baby bottle tooth decay is:
Baby bottle syndrome, now known as early childhood caries (ECC), is defined as the presence of 1 or more decayed teeth or missing teeth (resulting from dental caries) or filled tooth surfaces in any primary tooth between birth and 71 months of age.
Because of the prevalence of ECC the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry calls it an international public hazard. Young children who suffer from decay miss more school, have trouble chewing their food, and developing correct speech patterns. It is important for parents to understand the risk factors of ECC so they can prevent it in their children.
Scientists are still learning about the intricacies of tooth decay, but there is consensus on some behaviors, lifestyle habits, family traits, and dietary choices that put a child at higher risk for decay. Bayside Kids Dental will abbreviate risk factors outlined by Sujata Tungare and Arati G. Paranjpe (2019) below.
Many of these risk factors parents cannot control, however, for the risk factors that can be controlled or modified, we encourage parents to make small changes. Start with making sure your child isn’t going to bed with a bottle. Monitor your child’s diet, especially if they are making choices on their own or someone else feeds your child. Encourage your child to drink water instead of juice or soda. Teach your child good oral health habits and take them in for their first dental appointment before their first birthday.
Cavities are a bummer, especially for young children, but we are here to help! Make an appointment today and start your child’s oral heath off right.
The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.
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