Early Childhood Caries, or ECC is a very common problem seen in the primary teeth of preschool-age kids. It is characterized by one or more brown or white lesions present on the front teeth. According to the American Dental Association, this problem exists in the general population and can be curbed through proper education and awareness.
What causes early childhood caries?
There are a few factors that have been identified as the main causative agents for ECC:
- Baby Bottle Feeding: Allowing the child to fall asleep with a bottle of milk or other sugary liquids is one of the primary reasons behind the development of early childhood caries. When the liquid remains in the mouth for a long period of time, it creates favourable conditions for bacteria to initiate the process of decay.
- Nocturnal breastfeeding: Similar to the case of the nursing bottles, breastfeeding the child to sleep also has similar risks. Natural milk contains sugars and when these sugars are allowed to remain in the mouth, they make the primary teeth vulnerable to bacterial attacks.
Inadequate or Improper Oral Cleaning: Unhealthy feeding habits combined with improper, or lack of oral cleaning can lead to the development of dental decay.
- Unhealthy Snacking: Young children should be encouraged to consume well-balanced meals with components from all major food groups. When there is a nutritional imbalance, or when the child is consuming far more sugars and carbohydrates than other food groups, this can contribute to risk of caries development.
How can early childhood caries be effectively prevented?
According to the American Dental Association, you can help prevent the development of Early Childhood Caries by practicing the following:
- Make sure your child finishes his/her nursing bottle before falling asleep
- Encourage kids to drink from an infant cup instead of a bottle
- Discourage and regulate unhealthy snacking, especially between meals
- Make sure your child is consuming balanced, healthy means on daily basis
- Substitute sugary treats with raw vegetables and fruit
- Do not add extra sugar or flavouring agents to natural milk, which already contains sugars
- Help kids with brushing at least twice a day, especially before bedtime and naptime
- Explain to them the importance of keeping their teeth clean, and create awareness about harmful bacteria
- Do not allow your child to fall asleep during breastfeeding sessions, particularly at night
ECC is a common problem we see in Deming – but the good news is, our team of expert pediatric dentists and oral surgeons is at your service, whenever needed. Feel free to give us a call if your wish to learn more about decay prevention in young kids – we’re more than happy to address any queries you have!