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Baby & Kids Dental Health

A DxD Session with Dr Tabitha Chng


Ended on Mon Dec 31 2018
Ended
Have a question to ask?

Get Dr Tabitha Chng's opinions on your questions! Only approved questions are displayed.

Top Answers


Dear Mara, 

I sincerely hope I am not too late in answering your enquiry. 

Thank you so much for including a picture of your son's dental condition which helped me get a clearer picture of what he is experiencing. As Dr Geraldine has pointed out the presence of tooth decay and also explained the need for dental radiographs ( X-rays ), I will not repeat those points. 

The white area noted on the upper left gums is likely to be part of an existing baby tooth. This is a condition called root fenestration. This is likely due to the tooth decay on the upper left lateral incisor ( the second tooth from the right, as shown in the picture) which I assume may have been present for some time now. His body has been trying to fight this decay and infection. Unfortunately, in the process, the bone surrounding that tip of the tooth's roots has started to soften and dissolve. This causes us to be able to get a peek at the tooth roots through the gums or what I like to call a "window" effect. 

I agree with you that the black tooth should be removed at present. At present, there are minimal risks as compared to the potential benefits reaped if the decayed tooth were removed. While I agree that baby teeth are important space holders for the permanent teeth, I think at this juncture, ensuring decay and any oral infection is quickly brought to a minimum should be considered our first priority for your son. 

A more detailed examination should be conducted by your dentist to ensure there are no other dental cavities to be managed - especially at the back molars. These are common spots where decay may occur. I recommend you bring your son to a paediatric dentist ( a specialist dentist who is specially trained to see children )  or at least a dentist who is comfortable managing children at a young age to get started. 

Hope this has helped you clear up any doubts! 

Warmest regards

Dr Tabitha Chng

29 Aug 2018

Dear Ada,

It sounds like you have some concerns about your daughter’s upper tooth alignment which you suspect is due to a narrowed upper jaw (palate). Picking up this dental issue at her age is excellent because she is still growing.

Expanding the palate may be a feasible option to make more room in her jaw to accommodate all her teeth. To simplify things, you can think of the palate simply as a jig-saw puzzle, with an important suture ( a junction where growth occurs ) line running down the middle, splitting it into 2 parts - one right and one left piece.

As she grows, growth along the suture line naturally pushes the pieces further apart, causing a widening of the jaw. Dentally expanding her jaw would require the wear of an appliance that will gently push the jig-saw pieces further away from each other, intensifying the amount of growth at the suture line.

When done by a trained professional, it is very safe. Specialists like orthodontists or paediatric dentists will be suitable choices in this case.

There are several appliances that can be used for jaw expansion. Some are fixed (glued with a dental cement) to the teeth for the duration of the expansion while others are removable.

Removable appliances have the advantage of being easier to clean, especially in younger children. The variety of appliances that your daughter may choose from bear different costs, but tend to be upwards from $600.

Please know that it is important to note that a detailed examination is first needed before deciding on the best treatment for your child. Finding out why dental crowding is present is key:

  • Is the dental crowding due to her genetic tooth positioning? If so, jaw expansion may not be the best option for your daughter.
  • Is her jaw narrow? What is causing the narrowing?

In my experience, many children experience narrowing of the palate because of certain habits e.g. mouth breathing which is managed differently.

You may want to make sure that is evaluated by your dentist. Finding out the root cause of her dental crowding will ensure that she gets the right treatment for the best results!

You mentioned a procedure could be done to expand the jaw line. I’d like to address this, just in case you were referring to a surgical procedure. Surgery is more invasive and is usually not recommended especially when a child still has excellent growth potential like your daughter.

I hope that this broad overview helps answer your questions! Good luck!

Warmest regards

Dr Tabitha Chng

24 Aug 2018

Dear Mdm Chen,

I am so glad to hear that you are planning to start your daughter’s dental journey early! Early dental visits really pave the way for building good dental habits for your child which will benefit her all lifelong.

It does not sound like you have any major dental concerns for her so I thought I’d leave you with some tips that may come in handy as you make plans for your daughter’s first dental visit.

One of the most common questions my parents ask me is this: what if my child cries. That may be on your mind as well — I’ll try to address this below.

Finding a dentist for your child

I see that you are keen to see a paediatric dentist (dentist who specialises in children’s dentistry ). That is a good place to start because as a paediatric dentist, I can safely say we are a jolly bunch so tears are not common here.

Besides making sure our clinics are child-friendly and inviting, we often have toys and TV screens to entertain our little patients and set them at ease.

Paediatric dentists are also quick to adapt to your child’s comfort level and are managed differently. Some kids are ready to jump on the dental chair immediately, while others tend to be more wary of something new. Things that appear simple to us may be really challenging for children as young as your daughter. For example, from her perspective, sitting on the dental chair alone can be quite frightening. So instead, I always invite them to sit on mummy’s or daddy’s lap! Getting a cuddle on mummy’s lap soothes them right away!

However, different paediatric dentists have different management styles. For example, some talk lots like me! I love chatting with my little patients and finding out more about them. In my experience, I find that gets them more relaxed and they are more comfortable when they see me as a friend. Plus, it’s really fun to hear what they have to say! Thus, do not feel rushed to settle with the first paediatric dentist you meet. It is more important to take time to find one whose style suits both you and your child because you’re going to see him/her for a really long time!

Getting your child prepared for the visit

Lots have been written about preparing a child by reading books and watching videos about going to the dentist so I shall not go into those at length.

The logistics of the 1st visit is something that is often overlooked. For example, some kids come when they are unwell, after a long day from school or just before nap/ meal time. Try to avoid these moments when children are not feeling their best and likely to be tired or cranky! Picking the best part of the day where she is keen to explore and have fun will help her enjoy that first visit more! Although I must admit it is not always easy to get an early appointment with a paediatric dentist, it is better to delay the visit slightly, get an appointment at a timing suitable for your child (unless there are urgent issues to be addressed) and come when she is feeling her best.      

I also suggest to parents who contact me prior to their first visit to bring along their child’s toothbrush and toothpaste. I find most kids are more open to having a familiar toothbrush in their mouth than a shiny cold dental mirror — and as I brush their teeth, that’s when I check them too! You can also get her ready for this by letting her pretend to be her soft toys’ dentist at home! 

In the end, the best advice I have for parents is to just sit back and breathe. Often, parents are more anxious about the visit than our little patients and this energy is quickly picked up by our children! So, keep calm and breathe and let your paediatric dentist do the rest! Hope this gives you some insight to the first dental visit. Good luck!

Warmest regards

Dr Taby 

24 Aug 2018

Dear Ee Lin,

You are right to suspect that a tongue and lip tie may be responsible for the feeding behaviours you have noticed. As these oral restrictions are present at birth, you may also have experienced challenges with breastfeeding during the newborn period. Nursing difficulties may continue to translate into challenges with solids as you have experienced. However, it is worth noting that there may be many other reasons for the feeding behaviour you have noticed e.g. food aversions.

In order to determine if there are oral restrictions affecting your child, first you have to decide who to consult with. You may wish to speak to your child's paediatrician or look for a paediatric dentist/ ENT/surgeon. While all these paediatric specialists should be able to do the assessments, in my experience, paediatricians are likely to refer you to see a paediatric dentist/ENT/surgeon for the actual treatment. 

At the appointment, I would ensure 2 important steps are done during your consultation:

1. Your doctor/dentist looks at the structures: A detailed oral assessment which will include a look into your child's mouth to evaluate the oral structures. 

2. Your doctor/dentist assesses function : Not all tongue and lip ties cause issues. Hence diagnosis is only complete with an assessment of your child's current level of oral competence. Just like walking and crawling are motor development milestones your paediatrician looks for, there are similar oral developmental milestones I would look for in our discussion. Nursing history would be one part of our discussion. 

How urgent is this assessment?

Although you have not mentioned, it has been my experience that many parents who come to see me are also most concerned about the impact of such oral restrictions on future speech development. I suspect that may be on your mind as well. Thus, it is important that an oral assessment be made to rule out the presence of such restrictive oral ties soon. We do not want oral ties to negatively affect speech development. 


Early diagnosis is also advantageous for your child due to the surgical nature of the treatment. While the procedure to loosen the tongue and lip tie is simple (the surgical procedure is commonly known as frenectomy or frenotomy), it does get more complex with age owing to his ability to cooperate. Parents know how difficult it is for a toddler to stay still even for a diaper change. In the same way, it can be challenging to do a surgical procedure safely in toddlers. 

Thus, for some children, this procedure has to be conducted in a hospital setting under some level of sedation or general anaesthesia (children are asleep during the treatment). The earlier the treatment can be done, the less likely sedation or general anaesthesia will be required. 

Hope this tidbit of information has helped! I certainly hope you will be able to find some answers soon for your son for I know how frustrating it can be when each meal time is a challenge!

Kind regards

Dr Taby 

10 Sep 2018

Hi Samantha, 

Thanks so much for asking this question for I am certain many parents are facing the exact same situation as you! 

I am glad that while your child is free of dental decay, you are taking the advice given seriously. I would love to share with you some tips that my parents have found really useful. 

Caution: it may be a tad unconventional but they work!

1. Mum, I'm a big boy now!

Three year olds want to own their new-found independence -- this is part of their normal psychological developmental. Just like how they must wear a certain shoe to school or put on a particular shirt (even though the top you picked was just fine!) and will not accept it any other way, I find that we can hone this need for independence to our advantage. 

Involve him in every step of the decision making sequence of toothbrushing. It can start from the aisles of the supermarket. Let him pick out his toothbrush and toothpaste. I'd buy more than one of each (I'll explain why later). Find ones with his favourite character of the moment or favourite colour. Fancy features like toothbrushes with blinking lights and songs or electric spin brushes could be a big draw for your little one. 

Bonus tip: these lights and songs are intentionally designed to be 1-2 minutes long which add a visual/audio cue for your child to know how long they need to be brushing for!

When it is toothbrushing time, it's time to flex that decision-making muscle of his! Let him decide which toothbrush (that's why you have to get more than one!) he shall use today. Which toothpaste to use next.. Which teeth to have brushed first.. Can he help mum squeeze the toothpaste? You get the drift. It doesn't really matter if he chose the Spiderman brush over the Paw Patrol brush, but it does make a difference to his developing psyche and his willingness to brush. Kids at his age love being able to be a "big boy" and make decisions. Try it and see for yourself! 

2. I don't understand why I need to brush mummy

"No shoes in the house!"  

           "why mummy?"

"Because your shoes are dirty and will dirty the house!"

We often explain reasons for why we ask our children to do things a certain way. In the same way, I find children respond to the idea of toothbrushing better when they understand why they have to do it. 

Reading a book or watching a video and talking about toothbrushing with your child are good ways to get started. Speak to them about why they need to brush e.g. your corn gets stuck in your teeth! We need to brush those away. Some parents use visuals like cavities to highlight the importance of brushing. My word of advice is to do it gently without resorting to scare tactics. Check out this link which is an easy and fun way to conceptualise brushing for your son. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EWLH1oVRw9c

This is a good time to bring up a big "what not-to-do". Parents often (hands up if you are guilty!) use dentists to threaten children into brushing. "If you do not brush your teeth, I will bring you to dentist to pull out all your teeth!" Sound familiar? While it may work for a while, it will definitely backfire when it is time to actually visit the dentist. You may know it is just an empty threat, but your child will not.. 

3. Keeping up a good routine

You mentioned that you brush his teeth 1-2 times a day. Children thrive on routine and it can be terribly confusing for them as they wonder why they have to brush tonight when they didn't need to brush last night. I encourage you to be consistent with the brushing, twice a day, everyday. This allows him to know what to expect daily -- no surprises! 

Do look at your timing of toothbrushing as well. In my experience, parents and I have found out that some kids do not want to brush because it signals that the night is over and that they have to go to bed. So the fight to brush is actually more about bed time than it was about toothbrushing. Changing the timing of toothbrushing in the night routine or assuring your child that he will still have time for stories and quiet play after has helped many families. 

Making toothbrushing fun is crucial, though I sense like many parents who have posed me this question in the clinic, you have tried singing and dancing and coaxing him into brushing with inconsistent success. One key element to add to it all is to sprinkle lots of positivity. 

I'm sure your boy loves it when you are proud of him. Even if toothbrushing was a struggle that day, find things that he did that were positive. "Mummy is so proud (that) you cleaned out all the sugar-bugs today!" or "Wow you opened so wide today! You made it so easy to brush out all the food on your teeth!". Peppered with cuddles and high-5s, it is a nice ending to toothbrushing that your son will always look forward to. Positive reinforcement goes a long way!

4. Find yourself an ally

I cannot tell you how many times this has happened in my clinic. Parents have been nagging about toothbrushing and using all sorts of bribes and threats at home to no avail. However, the moment they come to see me for a dental visit, they wonderfully become toothbrushing angels at home! 

Sometimes the messaging just has to come from someone else in authority and children listen straight away! Just like how our kids sometimes listen to their teachers better than us mums! (even though we were saying the very same thing). So get a paediatric dentist on your side as a helpful ally. We know how to work that magic! 

A final thought: Keep trying all the strategies possible and don't give up because the goal at the end is for him to enjoy healthy teeth and gums. All your hard work is worth it!

Good luck!

Wishing you lots of toothbrushing fun,

Dr Tabitha Chng

27 Sep 2018

Dear Grace,

Paediatric Dentistry Singapore

Thanks for the D2D. It is never too early to start toothbrushing!

I actually started brushing my child’s teeth when he only had gums! Starting even before teeth emerge can help babies to get used to the sensations of tooth cleaning early.

She may also feel a little “itch” near where the tooth is emerging - a common occurrence during the teething phase. A gentle scrub with a toothbrush may feel rather soothing and enjoyable for her. 

4 Oct 2018

Hi Nicole,

The silicone-type finger brush is a really popular choice among many parents.

Do note that babies are really curious explorers so you may find that she keeps biting on the brush (and your finger too! if you are using the finger brush). Not to worry!

There are many teething-type toothbrushes available on the market which are designed to withstand our little chompers. Check them out at your local baby store or ask your dentist to give you a recommendation at your baby’s first dental visit!

Bonus tip: Don’t forget to clean her tongue! Lots of milk residues usually build up on the tongue and are one of the biggest culprits for bad breath in children. 

4 Oct 2018

You could consider using toothpaste now! Baby toothpastes are specially formulated with lovely flavours that can make toothbrushing tasty and fun!

Paediatric Dentistry Singapore

However, the bigger head-scratcher for most parents is which toothpaste to use. Sorry, long answer ahead! Plus, it certainly doesn’t help that there are so many brands of toothpaste available on the shelves for babies.

Here are 2 factors that you need to consider when making that informed choice. 

  • Is your child at risk of dental decay?

You may be surprised but the youngest child I have seen with tooth decay was only 11 months old! Unfortunately, young children in Singapore are very much at risk of developing dental decay. Fluoride that is found in some children’s toothpaste can help reduce that risk. 

How would you know if your child is at risk? Paediatric dentists look at factors like diet, feeding practices, dental habits and the status of baby teeth to decide if there is a high risk of developing decay. Your child’s paediatric dentist will then be able to recommend the best toothpaste based on your child’s unique needs.

  • Can your child spit?

While fluoride is helpful in preventing cavities, it is not advisable for children who are not able to spit well.

What if my child can’t spit but the risk of decay is high? Upon weighing the risks of a child developing dental cavities (which weaken teeth!) versus the potential side effects (the biggest risk is development of mild dental fluorosis - these are white flecks on teeth which are usually only picked up by your dentist), the choice tends to sway towards careful use of the fluoride-containing toothpaste. 

There are different levels of fluoride in toothpaste. If you feel uncomfortable with the recommended toothpaste, make sure you have an open discussion with your paediatric dentist.

There are many other tooth-protective strategies apart from fluoride alone that can be taken into consideration. I always appreciate parents voicing out their concerns so we can create a customised and effective dental plan for their child.

4 Oct 2018

I assume most of you who are reading this are parents. Now, has this happened to you before? You buy a really fun toy but your child simply has no interest in it. Or you buy a lovely new outfit but they just refuse to put it on over their heads!!

The same goes for toothbrush and toothpastes. It may sound silly but with that above context, you’d realise that the best type of toothbrush and toothpaste for a child to start off with is the one that they love to use! 

I wish there was a universally accepted toothbrush and toothpaste for all children. Toothpastes have flavours that appeal to kids, but not all will like the same types. Some toothbrushes have sub-optimal bristle designs, but sometimes it is the Paw Patrol character that attracts them so much that they will refuse any other toothbrush. That is, until their love for Paw Patrol gets shifted to something else. 

My years as a paediatric dentist has taught me that just as every child is unique, there is no one size fits all in recommending dental advice either! Mostly, I am happy to go with what you (parents) and your child enjoy using as long as it is able to keep the teeth and gums in good shape.

Thus,  I recommend that every parent who comes to see me bring their child’s existing toothbrush and toothpaste. By taking a look at how it is used during brushing, by assessing how clean and healthy the teeth are at the end of the toothbrushing, I will make the relevant recommendations.

Don’t forget that as your child grows older and dental needs change, the best toothbrush and toothpaste will also change.

The best way to know if what you are using suits your child’s needs is to continue to visit your paediatric dentist regularly. She will know when to advise you to make the necessary switch. 

4 Oct 2018

Dear Elizabeth, 

It is wonderful that you have brought your son to the dentist for a check up at a young age. When decay is detected, using a fluoride containing toothpaste is certainly helpful in limiting the progression of further tooth decay. Here are some tips I have to share with you. 

Pick the right toothpaste

In my experience, many parents reach out for fluoride toothpastes (good!) but did not use one of an appropriate strength. Please do make sure that the toothpaste you have chosen has at least 1000ppm fluoride content. This is often labelled on the toothpaste box. While many kids' toothpastes do contain fluoride, only those at 1000ppm concentration and above are effective in decay prevention. Some options are Elgydium's 7-12 year old Bubblegum flavour and Pearlie White's 2 year old and above Strawberry flavour. Both are 1000ppm content. ( Yes, I know the age labelling is confusing but that's a discussion for another time!) 

A non-foaming toothpaste would be better for your son

What I like about the Pearlie White version for your son is that it does not foam. Although using a dry toothbrush to brush may help, the root cause is the foaming agent placed in toothpastes : sodium lauryl sulfate (commonly known as SLS)

Pearlie White's toothpastes come without SLS which makes it less bubbly. When there is less foam, there is less volume to accidentally swallow. Do not worry as having more foam and bubbles does not mean the toothpaste cleans better!

Practise spitting together

I teach many of my parents to start practising spitting and gargling with their children early. Most children get the hang of it between 2-3 years old. This will only happen if you practise often. There are many opportunities to practise besides during toothbrushing: shower time (think more water play! See who can spit farther!) and after snack time are great times to practise the spit without worrying of them swallowing any toothpaste. After all, it's just water in their mouths! Once he can spit better, you will have a lesser worry about ingestion. 

Wipe before the spit 

When I ask children to use fluoride toothpaste before they have mastered the gargle, I ask parents to wipe off the toothpaste film from the teeth as part of the toothbrushing routine. A simple swipe with a clean washcloth will do. This is just to remove the excess spit and toothpaste that is lingering that may be swallowed. Don't worry, you won't be able to wipe off every single bit of fluoride goodness that is protecting the teeth! 

What if he swallows

Living in Singapore, we do consume fluoride daily - from the water we drink to the food that is prepared here. The amount that may be accidentally swallowed while using a pea size amount of 1000ppm fluoride toothpaste twice daily, AND with the above safety tips I have given you, I have to say that the risks of using the toothpaste are generally low. As compared to the risk of spreading tooth decay, your boy stands to gain a lot of protection from the fluoride toothpaste instead. 

The biggest risk of long term ingestion in Singapore is fluorosis. This refers to white snowflake like spots on the adult teeth which are usually only noticeable by dentists. This does not weaken the teeth. In fact, some people like it as it makes their teeth look more-white! 

Still not comfortable with the use of fluoride? 

While fluoride is indeed a very helpful tool in managing tooth decay, in my years as a paediatric dentist, I have learnt that dental advice needs to be customised according to each child's dental needs and parents' comfort levels. Plus, fluoride is only one of the many tools we have! We have many others! 

If you are indeed uncomfortable with the idea of using fluoride toothpaste, do tell your dentist. You should never force yourself to do something you are uncomfortable with. 

Hope you have found this useful and do see your child's dentist regularly to make sure we get the tooth decay under control! 

Kind regards

Dr Taby 

1 Nov 2018

Hi Tiffany,

Tooth decay is a contagious oral bacterial disease. These bacteria produce acids in the presence of sugar and these acids soften the teeth. When cavities appear in the mouth, it is a signal to paediatric dentists that the mouth is in imbalance. The amount of bacteria and the volume of acids being produced in the mouth is overwhelming — more than what the body and immune system can handle.

Although the baby tooth with the decay may have fallen out, the bacteria remains along with their acid producing ability. This creates an oral environment conducive to more decay. The adult teeth that erupt soon into this environment often fall victim to decay. Thus, it is not surprising that baby tooth decay is the biggest predictor of future adult tooth decay.

I’d like to add another point here as it may apply to many other parents who share your concern. Often, parents notice front tooth decay but because it doesn’t look “that bad”, they refrain from checking in with a dentist. More than once, I have had to deliver the bad news to parents (who came to check that 1 or 2 cavities) that there were up to 8-10 more cavities lurking in the back of the mouth.

To end off, if there’s one thing I could share with all parents, it is that there really isn’t such a thing as a “healthy amount of decay”. Do make sure you make time to schedule in a paediatric dental visit for your daughter so that you can re-establish a healthy balance in the mouth.

13 Nov 2018

Hi Shermin,

Cavities are a clue to an ongoing decaying process of your child’s teeth. This means  when left untreated, the cavities will continue to enlarge. Depending on your child’s age, these teeth may stay in his mouth for anywhere between 6-10 more years. In other words, although baby teeth do eventually fall out, it takes a while before they do. 6-10 years is a long time for the decay process to eat away at your child’s teeth, leaving significant sized holes.

As cavities progress, children experience difficulty chewing and pain eating. Teeth can get infected and cause fever and swelling of your child’s face. We now know cavities can cause a significant poorer quality of life and these kids tend to have poorer weight gain than their cavity-free peers. These children also have more missed school days due to cavity-related issues and have more trouble paying attention in school. (Just ask anyone who has had a toothache before!)

Tooth decay in baby teeth can also lead to tooth decay in the upcoming adult teeth. Read here to find out how: Does tooth decay in baby teeth affect adult teeth?

There are certainly many good reasons to fix cavities even if they are in baby teeth. Please do consider returning to your child’s dentist to manage them and help your child regain a healthy mouth again!

13 Nov 2018

Hi Jemma,

Baby bottle decay specifically refers to tooth decay in baby teeth that occurs as a result of inappropriate milk bottle usage. It was a popular term when we realised that many children who were falling asleep after their last bottle of milk without a round of toothbrushing after were developing tooth decay. Hence, the term baby bottle decay.

Here are the top 3 ways to ensure you can prevent baby bottle decay.

  1. To prevent baby bottle tooth decay, ensure that nothing besides water or milk is placed inside the milk bottle.
  2. Brush your child’s teeth well after the last round of milk consumed for the night. Ask which is the most appropriate toothbrush and toothpaste for your child when you are at the dentist.
  3. Reduce your child’s dependence on feeding from a milk bottle by bottle weaning early. Paediatricians and paediatric dentists recommend bottle weaning between 12-18 months of age. (You may also find this post helpful: How can I prevent tooth decay in my baby?)

Does this mean if we wean off the milk bottle, our child will not get decay?

Although the term baby bottle decay points directly to the misuse of the milk bottle, parents must not forget that there are many other pathways that lead to tooth decay. For instance, frequent drinks of sweet cultured milk drinks or juice can also lead to tooth decay. It does not have to be from the bottle directly.

If in doubt, always speak to your paediatric dentist who can customise the advice to better suit your child’s needs. Do remember that the first dental visit for a child should be by 1 years old!

13 Nov 2018

Hi James,

Fluoride is an effective cavity-fighting tool that paediatric dentists use to fight decay. Acids in the mouth attacks tooth surfaces, softening them and ultimately causing cavities. Fluoride tries to prevent that by clinging to the tooth enamel, producing a more acid resistant surface. You will find fluoride in toothpastes, mouthwashes and even the tap water in our local drinking water!

13 Nov 2018

Hi Tammy,

Although fluoride has its benefits, I am cautious in its usage at a younger age e.g infancy. Younger children who are not able to spit very well will tend to be recommended either the fluoride free or the lower levels of fluoride toothpastes. Not every child needs to start with a fluoride toothpaste. The exception however is when they have active tooth decay or high risk of decay. When I prescribe the use of high fluoride toothpaste, I add in other safety measures that will limit the level of ingestion.

The ‘right’ amount will thus differ based on your child’s needs. Your paediatric dentist will ascertain the risk of dental problems based on your child’s oral health, dental and dietary habits and even parents’ history of dental problems.

Do note that using a fluoride toothpaste does not mean that your child will be immune against cavities. Good diet and dental habits are still necessary to promote good oral health.

13 Nov 2018

baby teeth eruption chart

Taken from template.net

There are many freely available baby tooth eruption charts online as shown above.  Just flip to the back of your child’s health booklet to find another handy chart there too! However, in general, these numbers are a guide. If you think your child’s dental development is unusual, always check in with an experienced paediatric dentist who will be able to advise you further.

13 Nov 2018

You are right to be concerned because unfortunately, tooth decay is a very real issue for our children in Singapore today. More than half our preschoolers are victims of tooth decay.

Establishing tooth friendly habits right from the start is the key to preventing tooth decay.

Cleaning habits

Start using a soft bristled toothbrush once teeth emerge. Make sure teeth are well cleaned at least twice a day. An appropriate toothpaste should be used. ( Not sure about the choice of toothpaste for kids? Read here: When should I start giving my baby toothpaste?) 

Eating habits

Dietary practices need to be tooth friendly too. Monitor your child’s daily exposure to sugary foods and drinks. You must not allow your child to fall asleep with a bottle of sugar containing fluid (e.g. milk, juice). This means that toothbrushing must be done after the last food or drink consumed before settling your child for the night. 

Visiting the dentist is a good habit

The best way to prevent tooth decay is to make your child’s first dental visit early and to continue regular visits thereafter. Think of your paediatric dentist as part of the decay fighting team. By assessing the health of your child’s teeth and gums, I am able to customise your child’s dental advice according to his unique dental needs. Dental problems can also be spotted early! Note that your child’s dental needs change as he grows and thus need to be updated from time to time. 

As you can see, there’s lots parents can do to prevent tooth decay. It takes effort but it’s all well worth when it is for our kids! 

14 Nov 2018

Top Questions


Hi, just wondering when is a good time for children to get braces done for teeth alignment? My daughter is 10, and she is regularly seen by the school dentist every year. Her adult teeth has started to grow out. Thank you!

My 6 year old has an underbite. What are the early treatments I can consider for her?
My 6 year old has baby teeth that didn't drop. This has caused her 2 adult front teeth to grow out crooked. What measures should I take to address this? Are there any precautionary measures I should take for her future adult teeth?