Early Childhood Tooth Decay

Early Childhood Tooth Decay

Although they will eventually be replaced by permanent teeth, baby teeth (also known as primary teeth) play key roles in your child's longterm dental health. Today our Smile Town Burnaby dentists walk through why primary tooth decay matters and how you can prevent it.


Primary teeth help your child speak clearly and eat nutritious food. They are important to your child's oral and general health and some will remain in your kid's mouth until as late as age 12.

Primary teeth are long-term factors in your child's immediate wellbeing, despite being temporary.

They also guide your child's permanent teeth into place and help your child develop a healthy mouth size and shape.

Maintaining the health of primary teeth and ensuring they remain in the mouth until it is their natural time is key in your child's dental development.

Tooth Decay

Tooth decay, also known as cavities, is a dental disease which breaks down the hard outer layer (enamel) of a tooth and exposes the softer, sensitive inner layers of the tooth.

Preventing tooth decay is a life-long task that begins early in life.

Tooth Decay In Primary Teeth

Your child's teeth may be at risk of tooth decay as soon as their first tooth emerges. 

Much of a baby's diet contains lots of sugar: like breastmilk, formula and many of the solid foods introduced late into their first year. And sugar is one of the primary causes of tooth decay.

How To Prevent Early Childhood Tooth Decay

Clean Your Young Child's Teeth

You should clean your young child's mouth after each meal.

Before they have any teeth, use a damp cloth and run it over their gums. Make sure to clean as much of your child's mouth as possible.

When their first tooth emerges, it's time to start brushing! And when they have two teeth beside one another, you can begin flossing. Ask our Smile Town Burnaby team about your baby's dental hygiene.

Caring for your child's teeth this way helps keep their mouth clean and encourages them to brush and floss when they can do it on their own. 

Reduce Extended Exposure to Sugar

Many babies won't sleep without a bottle. And if you fill that bottle with sugary formula or fruit juice, your child's teeth will be exposed to sugar all night long.

If possible, transition your baby to having water in their overnight bottle. If they have trouble with the switch, you can also start by diluting their sugary drink to ease the transition.

For more information about preventing tooth decay and early childhood dental care, contact our Smile Town Burnaby dentists today!

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