Early Childhood Tooth Decay

Early Childhood Tooth Decay

Although they will eventually be replaced by permanent teeth, primary teeth (or baby teeth) play key roles in your child's longterm dental health. Today our Smile Town Langley dentists walk through why primary tooth decay matters and how you can prevent it in your child.


Primary teeth help your child eat nutritious food and speak clearly. They are key to your child's oral and general health and some will remain in your child's mouth until as late as age 12.

While they are temporary, they are factors in your child's long-term wellbeing.

Primary teeth help in the proper development of their mouth's size and shape. They also guide permanent teeth into place when they begin to emerge.

Maintaining the health of your child's primary teeth and ensuring they are not removed from the mouth before their natural time is key in your child's long term dental development.

Tooth Decay

Tooth decay, or cavities, is a dental disease which results in the breakdown of the hard outer layer (enamel) of a tooth and exposure of the softer, sensitive inner layers of the tooth.

Preventing tooth decay is a life-long task that begins early.

Tooth Decay In Primary Teeth

Your child's teeth are at risk of tooth decay from the their first primary tooth emerging. 

Much of a baby's diet is high in sugar; from breastmilk, to formula, to many of the solid foods introduced late into their first year. Sugar is one of the primary drivers of tooth decay.

Preventing Early Childhood Tooth Decay

Reduce Prolonged Exposure to Sugar

Many babies won't sleep without a bottle. And if you fill that bottle with sugary formula or fruit juice, your child's teeth will be exposed to sugar all night long.

If possible, transition the contents of your baby's overnight bottle to water. You can also start by diluting their sugary drink to ease the switch if they are having trouble.

Clean Your Young Child's Teeth

You should clean your young child or baby's mouth after every meal.

Before they have any teeth, use a damp washcloth and wipe down as much of their mouth as you can.

When their first tooth emerges, it's time to start brushing! You can begin flossing when they have two teeth beside one another. Ask our Smile Town Langley dentists about brushing and flossing techniques for your baby.

Early care for your young child's teeth keeps their mouth clean and encourages them to continue brushing and flossing when they are able to do so themselves. 

For more information about tooth decay prevention and dental care for babies and young children, contact our Smile Town Langley dentists today!

Download our FREE SmileTown Children's Activity Booklet.

This fun resource will help your kids get ready – and excited – about visiting the dentist.


Enter your email address below to get the FREE activity book and to receive our latest news and updates.