Causes of early childhood caries
Early childhood caries is an infective process initiated by the transmission of oral bacteria from mother to infant. This transmission of bacteria by saliva could be caused by the mother using her eating utensils to feed the infant or by washing the dummy in her mouth then giving it to the infant. Once the transmission has occurred, the bacteria can multiply significantly. Early childhood caries can occur if babies are settled to sleep with a bottle of milk.
When an infant is allowed to suckle on a nursing bottle containing milk during the night the saliva flow is reduced. The milk pools around the baby teeth enabling the bacteria to convert the natural sugars in milk to acids which dissolve the enamel of the baby teeth. If toddlers constantly sip on sweet drinks (such as fruit juices and soft drinks), they can also develop decay.