Early Childhood Caries (ECC) is an infectious disease that affects the primary or baby teeth of young children. The American Dental Association defines ECC as the presence of one or more decayed, missing or filled tooth surfaces on any primary tooth in a preschool-aged child between birth and 71 months of age. Both the American Dental Association (ADA) and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) identify ECC as a serious health problem.
Both the ADA and the AAPD continue to push health professionals and the general public to realize that once a child’s teeth is exposed (after eruption), there needs to be steps taken right away to prevent tooth decay. Early childhood caries is an infectious disease that cannot be taken lightly. ADA provides a few ways to leave child’s teeth less susceptible to tooth decay.
• The Association recommends scheduling a child’s first dental visit within the first six months of eruption of the first tooth, and no later than 12 months of age. At the dental visit, not only is the child screened for any damage done to teeth, parents are also educated on preventative steps to keep early childhood caries from surfacing.
• ECC risk can also be lowered if the mother’s mutans (bacteria) levels are decreased. Parents (including expectant parents) are also encouraged to set up an appointment with a dentist to maintain their own oral health.
• Infants should be kept on a balanced healthy diet; parents should keep their child away from liquids and beverages that have fermentable carbohydrates, such as juices, soft drinks, and starches, which are drinks that can easily lead to tooth decay.
• An unrestricted intake of sugary drinks during the day or while the child is in bed is not encouraged; parents should have their child finish their bottle before getting put to bed.
• Children should learn to drink from a cup by the time they are one-year-olds; parents should wean their child off of training cups as much as possible.
Our pediatric dentist, Dr. Pradhan, will be more than willing to take care of your child’s dental needs. Also, feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and the caring team at Wellesley Dental Group if you have any thoughts or concerns; they will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or firstname.lastname@example.org to set up an appointment and consultation.