Baby teeth begin to appear around six months and can remain until a child is 13 or 14. Baby teeth help children eat well, speak clearly and allow adult teeth to grow in properly. Even though they will eventually be replaced by the permanent adult teeth, baby teeth are very important and should be well looked after, checked or fixed if there is a problem. Here are some simple tips to care for your baby's teeth (PDF, Chinese, Punjabi).
Early childhood caries (ECC) is a common and severe form of cavities found in very young children (0-4 years of age). Without treatment, decay can spread deeper into the tooth, causing pain and infection and even damage to the underlying adult tooth. The baby tooth or teeth may need to be removed. Unfortunately, because of their young age, children may require treatment under sedation or general anesthesia at a hospital.
Baby teeth hold space for adult teeth as shown in the dental X-ray. If a baby tooth is missing too early other teeth may move into its space and block the way for the permanent tooth.
All 20 baby teeth usually appear by the age three. Keep in mind, all children are different.
Teething is the process where teeth appear (erupt) and it can cause pain, fussiness and drooling. To help ease the pain, many babies like to chew on a cold clean face cloth or teething ring. You can also rub your child’s gums gently with a clean finger. Do not give your child teething cookies as most contain starch and sugar which contributes to tooth decay.
Also review a series of frequently asked questions about babies and toddlers dental health at kidsmiles.ca.