The Epidemic of Baby Bottle Tooth Decay


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Early Childhood Caries (ECC) popularly known as Nursing Bottle carries, Baby Bottle Tooth Decay is believed to be cause by the baby going to bed with the feeding bottle in its mouth. The major causative factor is the cariogenic liquids in the bottle. Frequent exposure to carbohydrates in the presence of a bacterial agent Streptococcus Mutans is a key event in the natural history of the disease.

ECC is a rapid demineralization of the tooth structure causing cavities. The cost of treatment is costly because of the necessity of general anesthesia for treatment. The cooperative capacity of babies and preschool children is a major hassle in treatment. Treatment generally is restoration of caries or surgical removal of carious teeth. This approach has had minimal effect with the recurrence of ECC. Relapse rates that have been reported within the first year of dental surgery have been approximately 40 percent. Alternate approaches are needed to tackle this epidemic.

Disease Process
ECC is an infectious disease. Frequent and prolonged exposure of the teeth to sugars present in the milk, formula foods, or fruit juices is the initiation process for the disease. These sugars combine with bacteria Streptococci Mutans, lactobacilli, food debris and saliva to form plaque (a sticky substance that adheres to teeth). The acids produced by the bacteria result in demineralization of the tooth enamel and dentin. Plaque if not removed regularly and thoroughly causes the tooth to decay.

Prevention is better than cure
Prevention is the responsibility of the parents. It is the most effective measure for your child. Apathy on your part results in your child being emotionally scared for life.

  • Do not allow bottles, food or drink to bed. A toy for comfort is better than the bottle.

  • You can choose a plain bottle for milk or water. It does not serve as an attraction to the child hence it is better. Water can be filled in the bottle during bedtime as water does not harm the teeth.

  • When your baby is a year old it is better to throw away the bottles and use a cup for feeding.

  • Keep your baby’s mouth clean. Keep a soft cloth to wipe your baby’s gums and teeth after feeding and before naptime.

  • The dental hygiene of yourself and family is important. By taking care of your dental health you can prevent infecting the baby.

  • Another most proven and effective measure is the regular use of fluoride. Foods, toothpaste, mouthwashes and water with fluoride content is an effective low cost way of preventing tooth decay.

  • Fluoride bonds with the enamel of the tooth making it more resistant of sugar, plaque or bacteria. This aids in the re-mineralization of the teeth. Too much use of fluoride can cause spots on the tooth. Its use should be according to the directions of a physician.

    Dental Care
    Dental care is as essential as other medical care. The first dental visit of your baby should be within six month of the first baby tooth. This gives the dentist the chance to look for tooth problems and advise you on dental care.

  • The normal treatment is surgical restoration of carious teeth with recommendations on dietary patterns

  • In many cases even after the restoration is done the extraction of the tooth had to be done.

  • Professionally applied dental sealant or a pit and fissure sealant that is placed on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth protect and prevent against caries. Sealants are recommended at the age of six.

    Cost involved in Dental Care
    Cost in dental care can be quite prohibitive leading to indifference to ECC. This has resulted in the widespread epidemic of ECC. Complete dental insurance coverage for family is a very good option for meeting the costs of dental care. All you have to do is pay a monthly premium and the dental insurance covers the entire or a percentage of the cost incurred on Dental bills. You may already be covered by med-claim. Many sites exist that offers your related ECC information and dental insurance help. You could search for big discount dental plans to find cheap offers and buy dental online plans for your child and the family. is a site that suits your dental insurance needs for information and packages. It will help you know avenues for better deals and dental health care .

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