What is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?

October 26, 2016 10:15 pm

At Henson Family Dental in Temple Terrace, we believe it’s never too early to begin dental health. In years past, many parents and infant caregivers would not think to consider the daily dangers to infant teeth. Thankfully, times have changed. Dentists like¬†Dr. Kristanya Henson keep keenly aware of new discoveries and ways to prevent dental health issues for every age.¬†

In today’s blog, Dr. Henson shares her worthy insight and wisdom to answer the question: what is baby bottle tooth decay? Included first are the most common causes, followed by Dr. Henson’s recommended preventative measures.

Baby bottle tooth decay, also referred to as early childhood caries, affects infants and toddlers. Most often, the decay affects the upper front teeth, though any tooth can be affected. Although a child’s teeth are temporary at this young age, avoiding decay and promoting good dental health will impact his/her adult teeth for years to come.


1. Prolonged exposure to sugars in drinks.

This can occur with liquids such as milk, formula, or fruit juice. Tooth decay exists more often when an infant goes to bed with his/her bottle or when the bottle is given as a pacifying device. The sugar clings to the infant’s teeth for long periods of time.

2. Cavity-Causing Bacteria

Unfortunately, bacteria can be passed from mother or father to the infant. This occurs in the exchange of saliva. So simple an act as sharing the child’s spoon, even putting the infant’s pacifier into your mouth, increases the risk of tooth decay.

3. Insufficient Fluoride Supply

If your drinking water does not contain fluoride or you’d like more information, please contact us with questions. Our staff can also share about our fluoride treatments for children.


Thankfully, in addition to regular visits to our office, baby bottle tooth decay can be prevented. Here are some suggestions we remind our family patients.

1. Do not share spoons with your infant. Wipe the child’s gums with a clean, damp cloth after eating.

2. When the child’s teeth first come in, brush them gently with no toothpaste, or a very small bit of fluoride toothpaste. If you’re unsure, we will gladly give you our recommendations.

3. Set your child on a healthy routine. Encourage feedings to be completed before bedtime and naps.

4. Make sure pacifiers are clean and establish healthy eating when age-appropriate.

If you’ve any further questions or would like to make an appointment please do not hesitate to call. From all of us at Henson Family Dental, we look forward to serving you.