Infants should be seen by our office after the first six months of age, and at least by the child's first birthday. By this time, the baby's first teeth, or primary teeth, are beginning to erupt and it is a critical time to spot any problems before they become big concerns. Conditions like gum irritation and thumb-sucking could create problems later on. Babies who suck their thumbs may be setting the stage for malformed teeth and bite relationships. Another problem that can be spotted early is a condition called "baby bottle tooth decay," which is caused by sugary substances in breast milk and some juices, which combine with saliva to form pools inside the baby's mouth. If left untreated, this can lead to premature decay of your baby's future primary teeth, which can later hamper the proper formation of permanent teeth. One of the best ways to avoid baby bottle tooth decay is to not allow your baby to nurse on a bottle while going to sleep. Avoid dipping pacifiers in sweet substances such as honey, because this only encourages early decay in the baby's mouth. Encouraging your young child to drink from a cup as early as possible will also help stave off the problems associated with baby bottle tooth decay.