A child should have all his or her primary teeth by age 3.
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Frequent and long-term exposure of a child's teeth to sugary liquids is commonly called baby bottle tooth decay. Most parents are aware of baby bottle tooth decay but may not know that the long-term and regular consumption of sugary liquids in a bottle or cup puts children's growing teeth at increased risk for decay.
"Unsweetened fruit juices, teas and water are always best for children to help promote oral and overall health," says Academy of General Dentistry spokesperson Cindi Sherwood, DDS. Fruit juice causes tooth decay if children are allowed to hold a bottle, cup or box of juice in their mouth through the day.
"If left untreated, baby bottle tooth decay can result in pain and infection," says Dr. Sherwood. "Baby teeth are important because they hold the place for permanent teeth and help guide them into correct position. Severely decayed teeth may need to be extracted, which could effect the development of permanent teeth, speech and chewing."
Caring for children's teeth beginning in infancy promotes good oral health care habits for a lifetime and increases the chances of a child maintaining healthy permanent teeth.
Reviewed: January 2012
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