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prevent decay

Children's Dentistry

Baby teeth are just as important as permanent teeth and require daily care. They allow your child to chew and speak properly. They reserve the correct space in the gums for the eruption of permanent teeth. The baby molars need to be kept until the child is 11 to 13 years old.

Daily care is needed so your child does not lose baby teeth too early due to decay. Decay in baby teeth is commonly caused by prolonged contact of sweet liquids, food acids or foods with the teeth.

A child who is taught to look after the primary teeth is more likely to look after the permanent teeth and enjoy an attractive smile and good oral health.


Early childhood caries

Early childhood caries usually is associated with settling baby with a bottle of milk or sweet drink, and lack of good brushing. Tips to prevent ECC: clean your child’s teeth before badtime, offer a bottle of plain water or dummy while settling to sleep, phase out bottle feeding by age of 12months, take your child for check up about one year of age, keep a set of spoons for your baby as sharing spoons or tasting baby’s food can transfer decay-causing bacteria to your child.



Many babies are irritable while experiencing “teething problems” such as:

  • Frequent crying and crankiness

  • A slight fever

  • Reddened cheeks and drooling

  • Appetite loss and upset stomach

  • Finger and fist sucking

  • Pulling of the ear on the side of the erupting tooth

Such problems should only be temporary. If your baby can not sleep due to the pain try Panadol syrup or Nurofen syrup for children. Mild teething problems are often eased by:

  • Allowing baby to chew on hard and soft objects e.g. rusks, teething rings (these can be refrigerated but NOT frozen)

  • Rubbing your child’s gum with a clean finger

  • Plenty of cuddles and reassurance

  • Cold foods such as chilled yoghurt, cold water

If fever becomes prolonged you need to take your child to the doctor as there may be other causes for the fever.


When should my child begin to see the dentist?

Dental visits commence at 12 months as this is the opportunity we have to detect early signs of nursing decay and assist with the prevention of these problems. Children who have regular check ups and are comfortable with visiting the dentist have fewer dental problems. During the check up, we will assess your child’s risk of dental problems, clean your child’s teeth, apply fluoride and give further advice customized for your child.


When should I start brushing my child’s teeth?

Tooth brushing should start as soon as the first tooth appears. You can try starting with a warm moist wash cloth and then progress to a soft baby toothbrush. Brush teeth with plain water. Only a smear of low fluoride children’s toothpaste can be introduced at 18 months. Encourage your child to spit out after brushing.

From the age of 3, flossing should be carried out daily.


What are the signs of tooth decay?

White spots on your child’s teeth that are opaque and whiter than the tooth’s actual colour are the first sign of decay. As the spots enlarge they can change colour to yellow or brown which then break down and form a visible hole.

Parents and carers oral hygiene is important.
As teeth come through the bacteria that causes tooth decay is passed to the baby by the main carer through kissing, food tasting or cleaning the dummy in their own mouths. It is important that the carers for babies have their teeth checked, cleaned and any decay or gum disease issues resolved professionally.