Nursing bottle caries

Nursing bottle caries (Early childhood caries, baby bottle caries) is a condition characterized by severe tooth decay in primary teeth.

Various causes are known for this condition, such as:

  • Lack of routine oral hygiene.
  • Frequent and prolonged exposure of baby’s teeth to sugars in drinks, milk and infant formulas.
  • Baby put to bed with a bottle.
  • Bottle with sugary drinks used as a pacifier for a fussy baby.
  • Improper feeding pattern.
  • Any other medical issues (general health issues) can affect the tooth formation.

This condition is very obvious with decay mainly seen as brown or blackish discoloration on the upper front teeth but may also involve back teeth. Lower front teeth are less commonly affected. In initial stage, only discoloration will be present, if left untreated it will lead to loss of tooth structure which will reach pulp and cause pain to your child. So it is better to identify these decay and consult to your family dentist as early as possible.

  • Tooth pain and infection.
  • Difficulty in eating certain foods leading to nutritional deficiencies.
  • Difficulty in brushing teeth.
  • Oral malodor due to food lodgment.
  • Frequent episodes of fever, cough and cold.
  • Poor self-image due to changes in front teeth.
  • Delay in normal growth and development.
  • Risk factor for future permanent dentition.

Childhood caries is often preventable. Simple techniques which can be used are:

  • Cleaning the gum pads with soft cloth/gauze in babies.
  • Avoid night feeding.
  • Proper oral hygiene ( brushing and rinsing) twice a day.
  • Rinsing the child’s mouth with water or make the child to drink little water during bedtime/naptime.
  • Avoid frequent snacking or reduce the frequency of sugary sticky food. Clean the child’s mouth after eating the same.
  • Take your child for routine dental checkup for every 6 months.
  • Parent/Caregivers counselling.
  • Tooth fillings
  • Pulpotomy/Pulpectomy
  • Crowns
  • Extractions
  • Space Maintainers.

Last updated on 20 November, 2018.

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