Children dentists advise parents that regular dental care should begin by one year of age. By this age, many children already have dental decay. The prevention of dental disease is an important consideration during the first few visits. Your pediatric dentist will discuss gum diseases and explain how to avoid them or how to minimize damage if it already has started. He/she will discuss a program of preventive home care including brushing, flossing, diet control, and the importance of fluorides. He/she also may discuss nursing decay (bottle-mouth syndrome), a pattern of decay associated with prolonged nursing. The teeth in a child who either sleeps with a bottle or who nurses frequently can develop a type of decay that attacks quite rapidly. The upper front teeth and then the upper and lower back teeth decay rapidly and all of the baby teeth may be destroyed if the condition is not detected and corrected early enough. To prevent nursing caries, pediatric dentists recommend that a child be weaned by approximately 12 months of age.