Tooth Decay in Toddlers | 6 Tips For Treatment and Prevention


Your toddler’s baby teeth are precious, but they’re also sensitive to decay. 28 percent of toddlers ages 2 to 5 have experienced some form of tooth decay, making it the most common illness in US children.


With excellent dental care habits, you can keep your toddler’s smile healthy. Read on to find the best strategies for preventing tooth decay in your child.

What Is Toddler Tooth Decay?

When your toddler’s first tooth erupts around six months old, it’s time to start brushing. Toddler tooth decay, or early childhood caries, develops from these common causes:


  • Saliva from parents on cups and spoons
  • Baby formula, milk, and juice
  • Going to bed with a bottle
  • Using a sippy cup or bottle as a pacifier
  • Water without fluoride
  • Too much sweet and sticky food
  • Inadequate brushing and flossing habits

Preventing Child Tooth Decay

Whether your child is a newborn or toddler, you can start these habits to set them on the path to a healthy smile:

1.     Brush and Floss Daily

As soon as your toddler gets their first tooth, you can teach them how to brush and floss. Use a fluoride toothpaste and a brush with gentle bristles to clean the new tooth at least once a day. As more baby teeth come in, you should floss between your toddler’s teeth every day.

2.     Avoid Sugary Foods and Drinks

Children naturally love sweet foods, so it can be challenging to keep them away from candy, sodas, and sugary fruit juice. However, too many sugary snacks lead to buildups of plaque on your toddler’s teeth. Try to limit sweet treats throughout the day and only serve sugary drinks like juice at mealtime.

3.     Never Go to Bed With a Bottle

There are many good reasons why your child should never go to bed with a bottle or food. To avoid choking risks and even ear infections, your toddler should finish eating and drinking before bedtime.


Sleeping with buildups of plaque on the teeth can lead to decay. It’s best to brush your child’s teeth after dinner and send them off to bed with a sparkling clean smile.

4.     Avoid Sippy Cups

Drinking from a sippy cup throughout the day can lead to a case of toddler tooth decay. Avoid letting your child sip on anything but water in between meals. Too much sippy cup drinking can cause water to pool around the baby’s teeth, leading to decay.


The sooner you can teach your toddler to drink from a regular cup, the better. Most toddlers between 12 and 15 months can learn to sip from a cup.

5.     Take Your Child to the Dentist Before Age 1

Though it may seem too soon to take your baby to the dentist, children at six months old can start this healthy habit. At the very least, your toddler should visit a kids dentist before age one.


At your child’s first appointment, the dentist can help protect their baby teeth with fluoride varnish and assist you with a plan for preventing tooth decay in your child.

Fight Tooth Decay in Toddlers

Our professional Kool Smiles Kids Club partner dentists work hard to keep your whole family healthy. With 120 locations across the U.S., our passion is making dental care available to every child.


Our experts can help you with preventing tooth decay in your child. Call us at 877-200-2064 or find a location near you to schedule an appointment today.