To enrol your 0-4 year old into the BOPDHB Oral Health
- Contact 0800 TALK TEETH (0800 825 583)
- Discuss enrolment with your child's doctor, practice nurse,
Well Child/Tamariki Ora provider or public health nurse
- Visit your local Community Dental clinic or mobile unit
- Contact your Early Childhood Education Centre for an 0 - 4
Enrolment Request card
- Contact your Oral Health Promoter
- Fill in an online enrolment request here.
Clinics Open this Week
- Click here to view which
clinics are open this week
Teething is a normal part of every child's development. It
starts when the first baby tooth cuts through the gum, at about six
Baby teeth are important, not only for chewing food - they
contribute to self-esteem, confidence, appearance and proper
speech. The baby teeth also hold spaces for, and guide the position
of adult teeth.
If baby teeth are removed ahead of their natural time to fall
out, space for the adult teeth may be lost.
This can cause crooked and crowding of the adult teeth, which
can lead to other problems. Healthy baby teeth set the stage for
healthy adult teeth.
Early Childhood Caries (tooth decay) and
Early Childhood Caries (tooth decay) refers to the gradually
break down of a baby tooth that develops when bacteria and sugars
The bacterium in plaque reacts with sugar consumed in the daily
diet to produce an acid that attacks the minerals in teeth. Each
time you eat or drink, acid can attack the teeth for 20 minutes or
longer after the last exposure to sugar. After many attacks, tooth
decay can develop.
About one in ten children get tooth decay (Early Childhood
Caries) before they are two years old.
Baby teeth are not as strong as adult teeth. The enamel is
thinner and the teeth are smaller, so anything that causes decay in
adult teeth will decay a lot faster in a baby's tooth.
The most common cause of tooth decay is placing a baby in bed at
night with a bottle of milk or sweetened liquid. The milk or liquid
clings to the teeth all night. Tooth decay begins! Keep baby safe,
by holding baby and bottle while feeding.
In rare circumstances, babies who are breastfed throughout the
night over a long time are also at risk. A sweetened pacifier
(dummy) can also cause early childhood tooth decay.
The early childhood decay in these toddlers has a typical
pattern. It usually is noticed near the gum line of the upper front
Check for early signs of tooth decay and keep the teeth healthy
by avoiding sweetening pacifiers (dummies) or putting babies to bed
Occasionally when illness or other disturbance affects growing
teeth, the quality of the tooth enamel is poor. Such teeth can
decay more easily.
If you feel your baby is showing these signs, please get
treatment and help straight away.
What Causes Tooth Decay
There are a number of things that can cause tooth
- Eating and drinking lots of sugary snacks and sugary drinks
such as soft drinks, cakes, lollies and some carbohydrates.
- Not brushing teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
- Low availability of fluoride. The level of dental caries in
five year old children is approximately 20 -30% lower in areas with
- Bacteria transferred from mother or other person's saliva to
infant eg feeding spoons, pre-masticating food, kissing on the
mouth, cleaning infant's pacifier by putting it in her mouth.
- The tooth mineral structure of an individual.
- Medication - Prolonged use of antibiotics inhibits tooth
development. Medication such as inhalers can cause dry mouth.
Good Oral Hygiene
Starting good oral health early is important. Starting good
habits early are likely to transfer over to good habits throughout
here for more
Tips for a Healthy Smile for Life
Oral Health Workshops
We provide Oral Health Workshops for groups interested in
learning more about oral health.
For more information please phone 0800 TALK TEETH
(0800 825 583)
Frequently Asked Questions page
Reference: New Zealand Dental Association.
Healthy smile healthy child: information for parents to protect the
oral health of preschool children.
March 7, 2017