Bottle mouth; Bottle carries; Baby bottle tooth decay; Early childhood caries (ECC)
Your child needs strong, healthy baby teeth to chew food and to talk. Baby teeth also make space in children's jaws for their adult teeth to grow in straight.
Foods and drinks with sugar that sit in your child's mouth cause tooth decay. Milk, formula, and juice all have sugar in them. A lot of snacks children eat also have sugar in them.
To prevent tooth decay, consider breastfeeding your baby. Breast milk by itself is the best food for your baby. It keeps the inside of your baby's mouth healthy and prevents tooth decay.
If you are bottle-feeding your baby:
Check your child's teeth regularly.
If you have infants or toddlers, use a pea-size amount of non-fluoridated toothpaste on a washcloth to gently rub their teeth. When your children are older and can spit out all of the toothpaste after brushing, use a pea-size amount of fluoridated toothpaste on their toothbrushes with soft, nylon bristles to clean their teeth.
Floss your child's teeth when all of their baby teeth come in. This is usually by the time they are 2 ½ years old.
If your baby is 6 months or older, they need fluoride to keep their teeth healthy.
Feed your children foods that contain minerals to strengthen their teeth.
Take your children to the dentist when all their baby teeth have come in or at age 2 or 3, whichever comes first.
Hughes CV, Dean JA. Mechanical and chemotherapeutic home oral hygiene. In: Dean JA, ed. McDonald and Avery's Dentistry of the Child and Adolescent. 10th ed. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Mosby; 2016:chap 7.
Martin B, Baumhardt H, D'Alesio A, et al. Oral disorders. In: Zitelli, BJ, McIntire SC, Norwalk AJ. Atlas of Pediatric Diagnosis. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 20.
Tinanoff N. Dental caries. In: Kliegman RM, Stanton BF, St Geme JW, Schor NF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 20th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 312.
Last reviewed on: 2/22/2016
Reviewed by: Michael Kapner, DDS, General and Aesthetic Dentistry, Norwalk Medical Center, Norwalk, CT. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.