Infant / Toddler Care

The Australasian Academy of Paediatric Dentists recommend that all children should have their first visit around their first Birthdays. It’s also important to check 2-year olds for chalky back teeth (2-year molars). No child is “too young” to visit the dentist. Don’t wait until your child has a problem before you make a dental appointment.


The first tooth usually erupts at about six months of age. Most often it is a lower front tooth. During the next 18-24 months the rest of the teeth appear, although not in an orderly sequence from front to back. All 20 primary teeth should be present by about 2-3 years of age. The back teeth (2-year molars) are at particular risk of being “chalky”.

Biting on teething rings has been found helpful for some babies. Teething medications such as “Bonjela” rubbed on the gum can also relieve discomfort.

As soon as they appear. The gums and tongue also need to be brushed regularly.

Around one year of age is a good time to wean the baby from the bottle.

Sucking is a natural instinct of infants. If it helps to comfort your child then use a pacifier. If, however, a pacifier is used for long periods when your child is a toddler, they may develop an open bite (where the front teeth do not meet). Once the dummy sucking habit ceases this can correct itself. Do not coat the dummy with honey, jam, or anything sweet as this can lead to tooth decay.

Thumb sucking generally only becomes a problem if the child continues the habit for a very long period of time. Most children give up the habit spontaneously by about age three. If the thumb sucking habit continues when the adult teeth arrive, a mouth appliance may be recommended.

Decay-producing bacteria are transferred to the infant usually from the infant’s primary care giver. There is a high correlation between the mother and child’s bacterial count. So, mums with healthy gums and no active decay have children with healthy gums and no cavities.

Very likely-unless the cause of the decay has been determined and proper preventive steps have been introduced.

Avoid nursing the child to sleep or putting anything other than water in the bottle at nap time/ night time. Take your child to the paediatric dentist at around the age of one for a dental check-up and then schedule visits every six months for their ongoing preventive care. The paediatric dentist will give you advice on oral hygiene, diet and the correct way of brushing and flossing your child’s teeth.

Yes, it should be treated as soon as possible to avoid pain and infection.

Approximately 1 in 10 children get tooth decay before two years of age (Early Childhood Caries).

The most common cause is placing the baby in bed with sugary liquids like milk (including breast milk), formula or other sweetened liquids. Some infants have a high level of decay forming bacteria and are at an increased risk of developing decay if they are given sugary liquids. The sugar content of the pooled milk changes to acid, which softens teeth thereby causing tooth decay. Also, during sleep the flow of saliva is reduced and the natural self-cleansing action of the mouth is diminished.

Feeding child with a milk bottle/ sweetened liquid/ breast-feeding at frequent intervals can also be the cause of decay. Typically, children with Early Childhood Caries have the upper front teeth affected, but chalky back teeth pose an extra-high risk too.