Tooth decay is actually a symptom of a disease called Dental Caries; the childhood form of this disease is called Early Childhood Caries (ECC).

What do we know about Dental Caries?

It is caused by specific bacteria in the mouth that:

  • make acids from sugars in foods and drinks.
  • These acids are strong enough to attack the outer layer of teeth, which is called enamel.
  • Over time, these acids create holes in teeth, which is known as tooth decay and cavities.

Dental Caries Facts:

  • It is possible to “heal” early signs of tooth decay.
  • It is not just sugar in your diet that is responsible for tooth decay and cavities.
  • The growth of the acid-producing bacteria is what allows dental caries to continue to produce tooth decay and cavities even after teeth have been “fixed.”

What do we know about ECC?

It is also caused by bacteria in the mouth that:

  • make acids from sugars in foods and drinks (including infant formula and fruit juice).
  • These acids are strong enough to attack the outer layer of teeth, which is called enamel.
  • Over time, this may cause tooth decay and cavities.

Where do the bacteria come from?

  • Babies are not born with this specific type of acid-producing bacteria.
  • Most babies get the bacteria from their primary caregiver through loving gestures such as kiss.
  • Learn how to reduce the number of acid producing bacteria in your mouth before your baby is born:

Common myth: the bacteria can’t do any damage before a baby has teeth, right?

  • Truth: the acid producing bacteria can live and grow in a baby’s mouth even before they have teeth if there is a sugar source that is helping them grow.
  • Once baby gets that first tooth, the acids will begin to attack the enamel and may cause tooth decay pretty quickly.

Online Videos: Start Here!

Start Here!

How is my oral health connected to my baby? Protecting your teeth and gums will help your baby at the same time.

Chapter 1:
Dental Caries

What's the whole story? It all starts with Dental Caries, the disease responsible for what we know as tooth decay and cavities.

Chapter 2:
Early Childhood Caries

Is a childhood without cavities just a fairy tale?  Not when you have the facts on how to prevent Early Childhood Caries!

Three ways to prevent the spread and growth of the acid-producing bacteria:

Learn how Mom and other parents and caregivers can reduce the number of the acid-producing bacteria in their mouths. Watch our Smile, Mama! Pregnancy Oral Health video (only 7 minutes!).

Once your baby is born, wipe out their mouth daily with a clean, wet wash cloth to remove debris and bacteria. Watch our 5-minute Preteeth Prep School: Infant Oral Health video to learn more about this.

The acid-producing  bacteria thrive and grow on sugar…don’t feed them when you feed your baby. Our First Tooth! video (only 5 minutes!) hows you how to choose foods and beverages for your baby.


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Pregnancy and Infant Oral Health Education

This website is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice. Please do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. Contact your health care provider with questions regarding a medical condition or to seek medical advice.