Early Childhood Tooth Decay

Early Childhood Tooth Decay

Although they will eventually be replaced by permanent teeth, primary teeth (or baby teeth) play key roles in your child's longterm dental health. Today our Smiletown North Delta dentists walk through why primary tooth decay matters and ways that you can prevent it in your child.


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

While they are temporary, they are long-term factors in your child's immediate wellbeing.

Primary teeth also guide your child's permanent teeth into place and help in the proper development of their mouth's size and shape.

Maintaining their health and ensuring they are not removed from the mouth before it is their natural time is key in your child's long term dental development

Tooth Decay

Tooth decay, or cavities, is a dental disease which results in the breakdown of the hard outer layer (enamel) of a tooth and exposure of 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 are at risk of tooth decay from the time their first primary tooth emerges. 

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

Preventing Early Childhood Tooth Decay

Reduce Prolonged 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.

Clean Your Young Child's Teeth

You should clean your young child or baby's mouth after every meal.

Before they have any teeth, use a damp washcloth and run it over their gums. Make sure to clean as much of their 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 Smiletown North Delta dentists about brushing and flossing techniques for your baby.

Caring for their teeth this way early helps keep their mouth clean and encourages them to continue brushing and flossing when they are able to do so themselves. 

For more information about tooth decay precention and dental care for babies and young children, contact our Smiletown North Delta dentists today!

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