Protecting Your Child's Smile Against Baby Bottle Tooth Decay 


Often caused by prolonged exposure to sugary drinks, early childhood caries can have a serious impact on your child's oral health. The doctors at Children's Dental of Waltham are dedicated to helping you protect your child's smile. By bringing your child in for their regular checkups at our office in Waltham, MA, we can help you prevent and treat baby bottle tooth decay. Timely treatment is essential to prevent caries from progressing and causing further harm. 

What Causes Early Childhood Caries?

There are two main factors that contribute to baby bottle tooth decay:

Sugar Exposure
Drinks like juices, milk, and soft drinks contain sugars that can be harmful to your child's teeth. It is not uncommon for parents to allow their child to have a bottle in their crib or while walking around. However, this prolonged exposure to sugar can cause tooth decay.
Oral Hygiene
It is essential that you clean your child's teeth and gums after consuming sugary or acidic substances. You should also brush your child's teeth twice daily. Once the teeth start to become closer together (usually between the ages of two and six), you should start helping your child floss once per day.

Common Symptoms

The primary symptoms of baby bottle tooth decay include:

  • Tooth discoloration such as brown or black spots
  • Bad breath
  • Irritated or bleeding gums
  • Swelling

Your child may also be experiencing a fever in combination with these warning signs.

baby brushing his teeth

Brushing twice and flossing once daily is equally important for young children.

Preventing Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Fortunately, preventing baby bottle tooth decay can be fairly easy when you follow a few simple guidelines: 

  • Do not allow your child to sleep with a bottle, unless it contains plain water
  • Avoid or limit giving your child sugary drinks
  • Do not dip your child's pacifier in honey or syrup 
  • Establish healthy eating habits 
  • Avoid prolonged pacifier use
  • Wipe their gums after eating 
  • Brush and floss their teeth

Your child's doctor can help you determine which steps are most appropriate depending on your child's age and oral health state. According to the American Dental Association, your child should begin visiting the dentist as soon as their first tooth begins to grow in.

Treating Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

In the early stages, a fluoride treatment can usually be performed to reverse decay. Fluoride is a trusted cavity treatment that can remineralize teeth, helping to prevent cavities. We offer both fluoride rinse and varnish treatments. However, if tooth decay has become advanced, we offer a variety of cavity treatments that can be tailored to your child's needs.

Timely treatment is essential to prevent caries from progressing and causing further harm. 

Your Child's Health is Our Priority

Left untreated, baby bottle tooth decay can lead to the spread of decay and eventual tooth loss. If your child is exhibiting symptoms of dental caries or has not seen a dentist, contact us online or call us at (781) 899-7070. Our pediatric dentists are dedicated to serving your child's best interests, and you can count on us to provide compassionate, child-friendly care for the most pleasant experience possible.