Babies and infants teeth

Castle Dental – your local childrens dentist

We care about teeth from infancy through to adulthood.

Sometimes we get asked why it is important to maintain baby teeth. Here are some reasons:

  • The link between nutrition and chewing. If chewing ability is diminished then nutritional levels may become a concern. For growing bodies nutrition is extremely important.
  • Baby teeth act as space maintainers enabling room for the adult teeth to come through without crowding. Early loss of a baby tooth can result in loss of space for the adult tooth, leading to crowding and aesthetic concerns.
  • Baby teeth stimulate growth in the jaw bone and facial bone and muscle development. Early loss of many baby teeth can cause problems with the development of the jaw bones and as a result facial muscles.

Early childhood caries (ECC) is the term used for babies and children with early decaying teeth. Whilst the causes of decay are multifactorial, there are a few tips to decrease the chance of getting teeth decay in children.

Tips for healthy baby teeth

Suggestions from the Australian Dental Association include:

  • Brushing and flossing regularly.
  • Avoid settling the baby to sleep with bottled milk and sweet drinks such as juice or cordial.
  • Avoid snacking with high in sugar foods.
  • Start using children’s toothpaste at 18 months.
  • Avoid using ‘adult’ toothpastes till 6 years old.

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Eruption sequence of teeth

As a guide baby teeth start erupting between 6 and 12 months with the front teeth usually first and the last baby teeth between 2 and 3 years old. The first baby teeth start to fall out at about 6 years old with the last baby teeth falling out between 10 and 12 years old.

The first permanent teeth start erupting at about 6 years old. These include the front teeth (top and bottom) and the first permanent molars (6 year old molars) with the last permanent teeth erupting being the wisdom teeth or third molars.

Controversies and concerns

Thumb-sucking

Sucking is a natural reflex in babies and young children. Dummy and thumb sucking generally stops with time. However, there are concerns with facial development, teeth development and positioning if sucking does not stop when the baby teeth start to fall out. If you are having troubles stopping your child from thumb sucking, there are a range of simple tips and tricks that we can provide for your kids to stop thumb sucking. Please contact us if you are concerned.

Breastfeeding and the relationship with early decay

In the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, a few cases showed a link between breastfeeding and early teeth decay in babies, without investigating further the actual causes of this. In 2013, the Journal of American Dental Association published a complete overview of the evidence of health benefits, as well as the relationship between breastfeeding and early childhood caries. From an oral health point of view this relationship between breastfeeding and teeth decay was found to be inconclusive. (read more …)

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