Primary, or “baby” teeth are important for many reasons. They help children speak clearly and chew normally. They also maintain space in the jaw forming a path that permanent teeth can follow when ready to erupt. While the front 4 primary teeth are usually replaced at 6-7 years of age, the back teeth (cuspids and molars) aren’t replaced until age 10-13 years. Thus it is important to keep primary teeth strong and healthy.
Teething, the process by which primary teeth come through the gums varies among individual babies. Some babies get their teeth early and some get them late. In general, the first baby teeth to appear are the lower front teeth usually between the ages of 6-8 months. The last of the primary teeth come in by about 3 years of age.
Early Childhood Caries, also referred to as “baby bottle caries” is a serious form of tooth decay among young children. This condition is caused by prolonged contact between bacteria in the mouth and sugars in the consumed foods or liquids, such as milk (including breast milk), formula, fruit juice and other sweetened drinks. The liquids tend to pool around the child’s teeth giving the bacteria in the mouth an opportunity to produce acids that attack and break down the tooth enamel. Discuss with your pediatric dentist ways to prevent early childhood caries.