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Child Tooth Care

What is baby bottle rot?

Baby bottle rot is the common name for children who have significant numbers of cavities at an early age. Learn more about how cavities form here. Frequent and long term exposure to liquids containing sugars, typically via bottle, contributes to the decay which is why it is commonly known as baby bottle rot. To help prevent this condition always do the following:

  • As soon as your child's teeth erupt do the following with your child's bottle:
    • Dilute juices with water
    • Do not put soda in a bottle
    • Never let your child fall asleep with a bottle containing anything other than water
    • In general, try to limit your child's exposure to liquids containing sugar via bottle, and be sure to clean their teeth afterward
  • Before your child's teeth erupt, clean their gums with wet gauze or a washcloth after feeding. This helps clean away food and gets your child used to having their mouth cleaned. As soon as your child's teeth erupt begin brushing with a soft child's toothbrush.

When should I start brushing my child's teeth?

You should clean your child's teeth as soon as they erupt. A washcloth or gauze pad may be easiest to use until their molars begin to appear. By the time the back teeth appear start brushing with a soft child's toothbrush. Once your child can spit well and avoid swallowing begin to use a small amount of toothpaste while brushing.

When should my child first see the dentist?

The ADA recommends that your child has their first visit by their first birthday. The initial visits will get your child used to visiting the dentist and allow for early identification of any problems.

Where can I learn more?

The following resources can help you learn more: