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Early Dental Care for Babies and Toddlers

Proper dental care should start at an early age. We at Cooper Family Dentistry care deeply about ensuring your children get off to a great start in oral hygiene early in life.

Children are born with approximately 20 primary teeth that have partially formed under the gums. The front bottom and upper teeth are typically the first to erupt through the gumline, usually between 6-12 months of age. By the age of three, most children have a full set of 20 primary teeth in their mouth.

As soon as your baby’s first teeth erupt, tooth decay is possible. Even though these teeth will eventually be replaced by permanent teeth it is important to ensure they are healthy, as decay in the primary teeth can affect the risk level of decay in their permanent teeth. As well, severe decay in any teeth can affect a child’s overall health.

Tooth decay occurs when teeth are exposed to sugars in foods and drinks for long periods of time. When this happens, bacteria in the mouth turns these sugars into acid, attacking the teeth.

Ways to prevent cavities in babies and young children:

  • Never put a baby to bed with a bottle or sippy cup. When babies fall asleep with a bottle, the liquid can pool in their mouth, leading to long exposure to the sugars that can harm the teeth.
  • Limit constant snacking and sipping on sugary drinks or sugary foods. It is the length of exposure to these foods and drinks that cause tooth decay. Even 20 minutes of exposure can begin to erode the tooth’s surface.
  • Clean your baby/toddler’s teeth with a clean rag or a soft toothbrush after drinking or eating, especially when they have consumed anything with acid-forming sugars, such as juice or other sweetened drinks or snacks.

Please call us at Cooper Family Dentistry if we can help answer any questions about your child’s teeth and dental care, especially if you are concerned with any potential issues. We are here to help you ensure the best oral hygiene and long-term dental health for your entire family.

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