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Almost one in two children in Singapore has tooth decay by the time they enter kindergarten.
Tooth decay, formally known as
early childhood caries (ECC), is the most prevalent chronic disease in children. Untreated tooth decay can lead to pain, swelling, affecting growth and development of adult teeth. Unlike other chronic diseases, ECC is preventable.
It is recommended that children go for their first dental visit by one year old. This gives dentists an opportunity to educate parents and caregivers on the risk factors of ECC before ECC happens.
In this month's "Ask The Specialist" forum,
Dr Bien Lai, Head and Consultant of the
Paediatric Dentistry Unit at
National Dental Centre Singapore (NDCS), a member of the
SingHealth group, is here to answer your queries about tooth decay in children and infant oral health.
This forum is open from
1 July to 28 July 2020.
To post your question, please log in as a member. If you are not a member, you can register for a FREE membership here.
If you have problems posting your questions, please email your questions to
Kindly note: Your question will only go live/appear after the doctor answers it
Posted by ZY
Dear Doctor Lai,
My questions are:
Answered by Dr Bien Lai, Head and Consultant, Paediatric Dentistry Unit, National Dental Centre Singapore (NDCS)
Thank you for your questions!
Posted by Stacey
My 2-year-old tod has 4 teeth.. thinks he's currently teething w some fever till 39*C.
What age should I bring him to see a dentist? Till he finishes growing all 10?
Read that low grade fever not to give panadol. Can I have a range for teething issues like this?
We recommend first dental visit by one year old. This is to equip parents with oral health knowledge and guidance for dental growth and development. We also hope to better inform parents with tooth decay prevention tips before tooth decay happens.
Studies have shown that teething is usually not associated with high fever, and that fever is a result of concurrent infections such as upper respiratory tract infections or other childhood illness. You should bring your child to see a paediatrician to rule out viral causes.
Teething is usually associated with drooling, irritability, tendency to chew, and child keeps putting his fingers into the mouth. You should bring your child for his first checkup and the dentist should cover all these topics in detail!
Posted by Marwarni
Based on the photo of my child's teeth (as shared), what is happening to my child’s teeth and how do I manage? Thanks.
From the limited view, it looks like your child may have tooth decay at the upper front teeth. This is not a definite diagnosis. You should bring your child for a proper consultation in a dental clinic.
Posted by Sukhmander
My 12-yr-old son does not believe in brushing his teeth in the morning once he wakes up as he says that he has already brushed in the night before he sleeps.
As he is not consuming anything throughout the night, there should not be a need to brush once he is awake in the morning.
Please revert this opinion. Also he is wearing braces just so you know.
Toothbrushing helps in caries prevention because of 2 factors:
It is not just the toothbrushing action that helps, but the use of toothpaste that can help to prevent tooth decay.
In fact, children on braces should brush diligently especially before sleep and after each meal. Intra-oral appliance can make it harder for him to keep his teeth clean. For his case, he should be brushing after each meal (e.g. after breakfast and lunch), and once at night before he sleeps. He should consider an adult fluoridated toothpaste and possibly fluoridated mouthwash. Please check with his orthodontist for more information.
Hope this helps!
Posted by Ellie
Dear Dr Lai,
My questions as below:
Posted by Hazel
Hello Dr Bien, I would like to ask the following questions: