As baby’s teeth begin to develop during the first year of life. By the time they are six and seven years, they begin to lose their first set of teeth, which eventually are replaced by secondary/permanent teeth.
Without proper dental care, infants also face possible oral tooth decay and disease which could cause a lot of pain and discomfort.
What Causes Decay?
- Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Baby bottle tooth decay, also referred to as early childhood caries, is the most common chronic infectious dental disease among children. This condition is caused by frequent exposure, over time, to sugary liquids, which can seriously damage a baby’s teeth and overall oral health.
Sucking is a normal part of a baby’s development that tends to comfort them. However, frequent and long-term sucking can cause problems especially if the habit continues after baby teeth start to fall out.
Signs of Tooth Decay in Babies
Tooth decay might first appear as white spots at the gum line on the upper front teeth. A child with tooth decay needs to be examined and treated early to stop the decay from spreading and to prevent further damage.
Tips on how to avoid infant tooth decay
As your little one develops teeth, infant dental care is important. Here are some tips:
- As a mother-to-be, take good care of your own oral health even before your baby is born. It is important to visit a dentist for oral care while you are pregnant. Read more on dental care while pregnant.
- Whether you choose to breastfeed or bottle-feed, it is important to take good care of your baby’s teeth.
- Never put your child to bed with a bottle or food. This not only exposes your child’s teeth to sugars but can also put your child at risk for ear infections and choking.
- Teach your child to drink from a regular cup as soon as possible, preferably by 12 to 15 months of age. Drinking from a cup is less likely to cause liquid to collect around the teeth.
- You can take your child for that first dental visit by the time they hit 1 year.
Please note that development differs from one child to another.
Content intended for educational purposes only, and not a substitute for medical advice from your doctor.
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Last reviewed March 2019