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Early Childhood Tooth Decay

Causes of Tooth Decay in Children

Tooth decay is caused by acid-producing bacteria that live on the teeth. Natural or added sugars in drinks and food are changed to acid by this bacteria. This acid then gradually dissolves the outer part of teeth or “enamel”, leading to tooth decay. Prolonged and excessive breastfeeding can also cause early childhood tooth decay. 

Babies and toddlers who go to bed with a bottle of milk, formula or juice are most prone to early childhood tooth decay, because the sugar in these drinks stays in close contact with teeth throughout the night.

How to Prevent Tooth Decay in Children

Start practicing good oral hygiene at birth.

Never put your child to bed with a bottle (other than water) or food.

Eat a healthy, balanced diet, with minimal sugar intake.

See a pediatric dentist for regular checkups as soon as your baby’s first tooth erupts.

Take care of your own oral health, as bacteria can be shared with your child through saliva. Do not clean your baby’s pacifier with your own mouth!

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