Early childhood caries can impact children who are not even 1-year-old. “Baby bottle tooth decay” is one of the largest chronic diseases for children in Canada.
There were about 15 percent of children from British Columbia who showed visible signs of tooth decay and about 20 percent had fillings last year.
These problems are serious. The children are forced to deal with pain, difficulty sleeping and eating, and facial swelling that may lead to emergency room visits. Anesthesia is sometimes needed during these visits, which makes the cost skyrocket. These costs wouldn’t occur if children visited the dentist earlier and more often.
The issues stem from the child being given too much or too frequent access to infant formula, breast milk or juice from a bottle. The result is prolonged exposure to sugar, enabling bacteria to grow.
An increased possibility of tooth decay later in life is also a possibility.
Children of low-income families are at an increased risk of tooth decay because they don’t have the wherewithal to have their child visit a dentist regularly. Any child, however, is at risk for tooth decay without visiting a dentist.