Causes Of Tooth Decay In Babies

Did you know that babies can also get cavities? Yes! You read right! The expert tells us what can cause this condition in babies. Swipe left to read more!

Are you worried about tooth problems with regard to your baby? We don’t think about it much, but it is something that happens quite often.

Let’s first understand why tooth decay happens

Tooth decay occurs because when foods containing carbohydrates (sugars and starches), such as bread, cereals, milk, soda, fruits, cakes, or candy are left on the teeth for sometimes. The acids in plaque dissolve the enamel surface of the teeth, creating holes in the teeth called cavities, in turn, causing tooth decay. The cavities cause pain, infection, swelling and in some case tooth loss.

Causes Of Tooth Decay In Children

Bedtime Feeding: 

First and foremost, the reason for decay in children is bedtime feeding that often leads to early childhood caries/baby bottle tooth decay/Nursing bottle caries.

When infants are given milk bottles at night time filled with milk, juice and other sugar-containing liquids, these liquids can pool in the mouth and the sugar in the liquids feed the bacteria and cause tooth decay while the baby is sleeping. Saliva flow is low during sleep, and so does not protect against damage. This damage to teeth is called baby bottle tooth decay.

The same can happen to the toddlers when they drink from a sippy cup filled with these liquids.

 Food Habits: 

Tooth decay in children is caused due to their changing food habits. What children usually love to eat is sweets, chocolates, ice creams and other sugar enriched foods making them susceptible to tooth decay. Again the same concept holds here that when the tooth is exposed to sugar for a longer period of time, acid production starts and tooth decay begins.

Frequent Snacking:

As parents, most of us are in the habit of constantly giving our child something to eat. Due to this our saliva doesn’t get enough time to flush out the excess food debris which is stuck in our tooth from our last meal. The end result is a constant production of acid and tooth decay begins. We should always encourage our child to have proper meals rather than continuously giving them snacky food to eat.


The intake of juices, soft drinks, sports drinks and milk with sugary supplements can cause cavities as well. The kids who drink these beverages frequently are prone to infections as their teeth will get coated with these drinks. The bacteria settle in pits and grooves of the teeth and produces acids to damage the teeth resulting in cavities.

Medical Conditions: 

Some medical conditions may increase the risk of cavities too. If your child is suffering from chronic allergies, blockage of nose, sinus infection he or she may opt for mouth breathing, which interferes with the flow of saliva. When the flow of saliva decreases, the chances of cavities will increase.

Deficiency of Fluoride:


Fluoride is a natural mineral which helps to avoid cavities and reverse the effect of tooth damage in the initial stage. It also helps in forming a strong layer on the teeth to prevent cavities. This mineral is used in public water supplies, toothpaste and mouth rinse.

Tooth decay in toddlers is a common health concern and surely needs efficient treatment. So take care of what you give your child to eat and drink.

If you have more questions please do ask us in the comments below. We will get them answered for you.


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