Baby Bottle Syndrome (Childhood Caries)

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), Baby Bottle Syndrome is an infectious disease in which one or more decayed primary teeth in a preschool-age child are affected. It occurs when an infant is frequently and extensively exposed to liquids containing sugar. Common examples include breast milk, formula, milk, and juice. By putting your baby to sleep with a bottle containing anything but water, you risk rapid tooth decay. While your baby sleeps, the sugar from the liquids sticks to your baby’s teeth and causes production of acid, which attacks tooth enamel. We highly recommend that water be used as the beverage inside the bottle at bedtime. Additionally, we suggest that parents begin wiping down their baby’s teeth and gums with a damp washcloth, especially after feedings. Once their child’s first tooth erupts, a soft brush can be used, and of course, make an appointment to visit your pediatric dentist.

When Will My Child’s Teeth Erupt?

The eruption of primary teeth can vary from child to child, but most children follow a similar developmental timeline. Primary teeth begin developing during the fourth month of pregnancy, but they usually do not erupt until the child is between 6-10 months old. By the age of 3, most children have a full set of 20 primary teeth. By the age of 6, most children will begin erupting permanent teeth, beginning with first molars and central incisors. Teeth eruption ends with the third molars between the ages of 17 to 21. Adults have 28 permanent teeth, or up to 32 including the third molars (wisdom teeth).