Signs and appearance of teeth displaying bottle caries:
* Brown teeth with fragmented edges
* Upper front teeth that break easily
Children who have erupted teeth or are past the age to be weaned are highly susceptible to rotted front teeth when being put to bed with a bottle containing milk, juice or other sugar-containing liquids. There is decreased salivary flow during sleep and clearance of the liquid from the teeth is slowed.
The liquid pools around the upper front teeth and creates an excellent environment to promote the growth of decay-causing bacteria. Removing the bottle before the first tooth appears and wiping the child's gums and teeth with a soft cloth before being put to bed can help prevent decay.
At 18 months of age, parents should be encouraged to ask their dentist to examine their child and recommend home care.