According to the American Association of Paediatric Dentists (AAPD), tooth decay affects almost 20% of children under 5 years old. One concern is early childhood tooth decay, a serious condition caused by a child staying on the bottle (or breast) too long. Another problem is gum disease. About 40% of children two to three years old have at least mild inflammation of gum tissues. Oral habits (such as finger sucking) need to be checked as well. The earlier the dental visit, the better the chances to prevent dental problems. Strong, healthy teeth help your child chew food easily, speak clearly, and feel good about his or her appearance.