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HealthInfo Canterbury

Tooth decay in children

Tooth decay in children is also described as Early Childhood Caries (ECC). It's caused by frequent exposure to sugar. Teeth can be at risk of decay from the time they start to appear.

ECC can be prevented by brushing your baby’s teeth with a fluoride toothpaste as soon as the first tooth comes through the gum. Also aim to avoid sugar in food and drinks.

Baby bottles can also increase the risk of dental caries if not used correctly. Always hold your baby while feeding and don't put them to bed with a bottle. Going to sleep with a bottle of milk, a warm chocolate drink, juice or cordial will start to cause tooth decay. If your child uses a pacifier or dummy you should also never dip it in sugar, honey or sweetened drinks.

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed August 2018. Last updated April 2019.

See also:

Tooth decay

Fissure sealants

Fillings, crowns, & root canals

Page reference: 75181

Review key: HIOHB-48008