Early Childhood Caries

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About Cavities in Young Children

Early childhood caries is tooth decay which occurs in children under the age of 6. And severe early childhood caries (baby bottle tooth decay, milk bottle decay) causes several teeth to be decayed as early as age 2 or 3! How can cavities occur in such young children? You need not look any further than at what is being fed to your baby, and what is being done to clean your baby’s teeth.

How Are Cavities Formed?

Dental Caries a.k.a. cavities occurs when bacteria in our mouths breaks down sugars from food into acid. The acid, in turn, breaks down or decays the surface of teeth. As soon as your child’s first teeth appear (at about 6 months of age) the teeth are at risk for decay. Often, by the time dental decay is noticed by parents, the decay process has already been going on for several months if not years! If dental caries remains untreated, the infectious process can spread, causing more systemic health problems for your child. In addition, decay on primary teeth (baby teeth) can put the permanent teeth at risk. 

What causes cavities in kids

Baby formula, sweetened liquids (such as chocolate milk or fruit juices), and even medicine formulated for children all contain sugars. The longer the sugars stay on the teeth, the more likely the teeth are going to decay. When infants are bottle fed sugary liquids, the sugars are constantly bathing the teeth. And if you are not cleaning your child’s teeth regularly with a toothbrush, those sugars will continue to slowly but surely cause cavities in your child’s teeth. The best way to find out how to prevent early childhood caries in your child is to have your child evaluated by a pediatric dentist.

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