Did you know that your child is born with 20 little teeth growing under their gums? The first one usually appears at about 6 months. Baby teeth help your child chew and eat, speak clearly and smile with confidence. They also hold space for your child’s permanent teeth. And when a baby tooth is lost too early — most often due to tooth decay — permanent teeth can come in crooked, crowded or not at all. Tooth decay (cavities) can also be painful, making it hard to speak, eat and learn.
Here are some quick tips to prevent tooth decay in your baby:
- Don’t put your baby to bed with a bottle or sippy cup.
- Wean your baby off bottles by age 1.
- Avoid giving your baby juice until age 1; then limit to 4 oz. per day and use a cup, not a bottle.
- If your baby uses a pacifier, make sure it’s clean, and don’t dip it in honey or other sugary foods.
For more information about the importance of taking care of baby teeth, watch this informative video: Baby Teeth Matter
As always, remember to schedule your child’s first dental visit when you see their first tooth or by their first birthday. Just like they need regular check-ups with their doctor, your child needs a dental check-up starting at age one and every year after that to prevent tooth decay and the need for much more costly dental care later. It’s safe and easy, and dental visits for your child are covered if they are on AHCCCS or KidsCare.