- When can I expect my child’s first tooth to come in?
The two lower front teeth (central incisors) usually appear at about 6 months of age. This is followed shorty by the two upper front teeth. All 20 baby teeth should be in by three years of age.
The approximate ages at which the baby teeth erupt is illustrated below.
- Why can sleeping with the milk bottle cause tooth decay?
Over the night, the milk that stays in the mouth breaks down to sugars. Prolonged exposure of the baby’s teeth to these sugars causes tooth decay. If left untreated, it can lead to pain, infection and even early loss of the baby teeth.
- When can my child start using fluoride toothpaste?
When your child is old enough to predictably spit the toothpaste. This usually occurs around 3 to 4 years of age. Fluoride is important for strengthening enamel (the outer surface of the tooth) and preventing tooth decay. However, ingesting too much fluoride can result in fluorosis (staining of the tooth surface). Use only a tiny amount of toothpaste each time.
- At what age should I bring my child to see a dentist?
The American Dental Association recommends that a child should have his first dental exam no later than 1 year of age. This is to ensure that your child’s teeth are developing normally, and allows your dentist to discuss proper basic home oral care for your child.
- Baby teeth will be replaced eventually, should cavities on baby teeth be filled?
Yes. Baby teeth are very important. They are required for the child to chew food, speak clearly, and retain the space for the permanent teeth. The last baby teeth are replaced only around 12 years of age. Premature loss of the baby teeth can lead to crowding of the permanent dentition.
Contributed by Dr Hoo Swee Tiang