The importance of first teeth
What many parents don’t realise is that emerging baby teeth need to be looked after as carefully as we look after our own teeth. They will need to last your child until they are 5–12 years of age. As well as their obvious importance for chewing and speaking, they help proper jaw development, and reserve the spaces for the permanent teeth to come through later. Dental decay can result in babies losing teeth as early as 12 months. A condition called ‘nursing caries’ can result from allowing a baby to suck on a bottle of milk or sweetened juice for long periods during the day, or last thing at night. If a bedtime bottle is needed, use cooled boiled water instead (or cooled boiled water after the bedtime bottle of formula).
Start using a pea-sized amount of low fluoride children’s toothpaste only when they have learnt to spit things out from their mouth.
Chapter 4 Your Child's Health