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Babies, infants and children

Early Childhood Infant tooth decay
Severe decay is often caused by frequent drinks of sugary liquids.
Deciduous teeth or ‘baby teeth’ are with us for much longer than just our 'baby years'. In fact, some of these teeth are in the mouth till about 12 years of age.

Early Childhood Caries (Infant Tooth Decay) can occur soon after the baby teeth erupt, usually between nine months and two years.

The risk of developing Early Childhood Caries is greatly increased when children use bottles containing sweetened drinks. Infant tooth decay is less common in breastfed babies.

Preventing Early Childhood Caries:

  • Put only breast milk, water or formula in your baby's bottle
  • Never put cordial soft drink or juice in your baby's bottle
  • Try introducing the use of a cup from about 6 months of age
  • Try to stop bottle use from about 12 months of age
  • If using a dummy, do not add flavouring

Hints for good oral health:

  • Brush your child's teeth as soon as they appear
  • Use a small toothbrush with soft bristles
  • Use a pea size of low fluoride toothpaste (e.g. My First Colgate, Macleans Milk Teeth, Oral B Stages)
  • As your child gets older teach them to spit out after brushing
  • Children should not be allowed to dispense toothpaste without supervision

To help preschool aged and older children understand tooth brushing you can download How to Brush.

Last updated: 20 April 2016