Pediatric DentistryEarly Infant Oral Care

Avoiding "Baby Bottle Caries"

Milk contains sugars that can cause decay.  For this reason, tooth decay is common in young children but can be avoided by following a few tips:

  • Avoid giving milk or other drinks in the bottle at night.
  • Avoid nursing children to sleep.
  • Do not put honey or sugar on pacifiers.
  • Avoid "at-will" breast feeding once the first teeth have erupted.
  • Start dental visits by your child's first birthday.
  • Begin weaning your child off the bottle around 1 year of age.

When should my child start seeing a dentist?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that you should schedule your child's first dental appointment once the first tooth has erupted. This usually occurs by 1 year of age. As soon as a child has teeth, those teeth are subject to decay. The primary concern in very young children is "Early Childhood Caries" also known as "baby bottle tooth decay," which can be avoided with early prevention and home care.

Following the first visit, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry suggests follow-up visits twice a year for preventative care.

Why so early? What dental problems could a baby have?

The most important reason is to begin a thorough prevention program. Dental problems can begin early. A big concern is Early Childhood Caries (formerly known as baby bottle tooth decay or nursing caries). Once a child's diet includes anything besides breast-milk, erupted teeth are at risk for decay. The earlier the dental visit, the better the chance of preventing dental problems. Children with healthy teeth chew food easily and smile with confidence. Start your child now on a lifetime of good dental habits.

When Will My Baby Start Getting Teeth?

At birth people usually have 20 primary (baby) teeth, which often erupt about six months of age. Some babies get their teeth early and some get them late. In general, the first baby teeth to appear are usually the lower front (anterior) teeth and they usually begin erupting between the age of 6-8 months. They are then shed at various times throughout childhood.

By age 21, all 32 of the permanent teeth have usually erupted.

Primary Teeth Eruption Chart

Permanent Teeth Eruption Chart