Tooth decay in infants and very young children is often referred to as baby bottle tooth decay. 

When sweetened liquids, milk in baby bottles remain in contact with teeth, it leads to baby bottle tooth decay.

These may include sugars like fruit juice. 

Think baby teeth are temporary, and therefore, not important? Think again. 

Baby teeth are necessary for chewing, speaking, and smiling. They also maintain the space required for the adult teeth. If baby bottle tooth decay is left untreated, pain and infection can result. Severely decayed teeth may need to be removed.

If teeth are infected or lost too early, your child may develop poor eating habits, speech problems, crooked teeth, and damaged adult teeth. In addition, the chances that adult teeth will end up being crooked are greatly increased.

The good news is that a few simple steps can help prevent baby bottle tooth decay. 

Here's how:

1.  Wipe the baby's gums with a clean gauze pad or washcloth after each feeding.

2.  Begin brushing your child's teeth, without toothpaste, when his or her first tooth comes in. 

3.  Clean and massage gums in areas without teeth.

4.  Schedule regular dental visits by your child's first birthday.

5.  Never allow your child to fall asleep with a bottle containing anything but water.

6.  Never give your child a pacifier dipped in anything sweet.

7.  Reduce the sugar in your child's diet, especially between meals.

These will help prevent decay if your child has the habit of bottle feeding. 

But the best way to stay away from bottle tooth decay is to stop the habit of bottle feeding.

It's never too late to break bad habits. If your child drinks sweetened liquids from the bottle and/or sleeps with a bottle, break the habit now. 

You can break this habit using following tips:

1.  Gradually diluting the bottle contents with water over 2 to 3 weeks.

2.  Once that period is over, fill the bottle only with water.

Remember that healthy baby teeth will lead to healthy permanent teeth.