Baby bottle caries is also known as early childhood caries or nursing bottle decays. It is characterized by severe decay in the teeth of infants or young children. Since the milk/baby tooth is more susceptible to tooth decay than permanent tooth, the caries develop faster.
This type of caries is caused by frequent and prolonged contact between the child’s teeth and the sugar from milk, fruit juices and other sweet drink that is consumed. Decay occurs when sweetened liquids are given and left clinging to the teeth for long periods. Bacteria in the mouth use these sugars as food and they produce acids that attack the teeth. It is worse if the child drinks milk at night and sleeps with a bottle milk in his mouth. At night, the salivary flow is low. Thus the saliva cannot wash away all the milk. As a result, the milk stays in the mouth for a much longer time.
The good news is these decays are preventable. Please look out for our post next week on how to do so.