According to a recent report released by the Royal College of Surgeons, record numbers of under-fives are having rotten teeth removed.
Hospital extractions among pre-school children have soared by 24 per cent in just 10 years and, astonishingly, babies are affected too - last year alone 47 infants under the age of one had newly grown milk teeth taken out.
Children's dentist, Dr Jeremy Kaufman, who extracts children's rotten teeth on a daily basis, said: "The youngest child I have extracted a decayed tooth from was 18 months old. We are not doing enough to prevent child dental decay."
There were some surprising culprits named in the report including milk, baby food and fruit.
Most major brands of formula milk contain up to 8g of sugar per 100ml feed and this can wreak havoc on a toddlers teeth. Karen Coates, dental adviser for the Oral Health Foundation said: "Children are creatures of habit, and if they get used to falling asleep with a bottle they'll always want one.
"The last thing a child should have in their mouth before bed is a toothbrush."
Breastfeeding doesn't protect from tooth decay either and, according to Dr Kaufman, feeding a baby or toddler with teeth around the clock - something many mothers do - can also cause problems, as breast milk contains 7g of natural sugars per 100ml.
One parent spoke of her distress after being told by her dentist that by giving her child dried fruit she may as well be giving him sugar cubes. Aged four her son complained of severe toothache and, after X-rays showed abscesses under several decaying teeth, he was booked into hospital to have two removed under general anaesthetic.
The Mail reported that those from comfortable lifestyles are at just as much risk as youngsters from disadvantaged backgrounds - with middle-class parents feeding their children so-called 'healthy' snacks that cause more damage than junk foods, and working mums often too busy to take their children for check-ups.
And the legacy can be far more serious than just a phobia of going to the dentist.
"The best predictor of adult tooth decay is dental health at the age of five," said Dr Mervyn Druian, a dentist who specialises in cosmetic dentistry and reconstruction. "It's not something that disappears when your baby teeth fall out."
Dr Nicole Sturzenbaum, of Toothbeary Richmond, a private surgery in one of London's wealthiest boroughs that caters exclusively for the under-18s, has seen a steady increase in the number of children needing extensive dental work to save baby teeth since it opened in 2008.
According to Dr Sturzenbaum, part of the problem is that parents think they are giving children 'healthy' foods and drinks, but it is these that can cause the most damage.
"Parents don't realise that fruit juices contain more sugar than cola,"she said, "And many so-called healthy snacks are packed with sugar, too."