Early childhood caries
At Centre Dentaire Anjou, our team is made up of several pediatric dentists, specializing in children’s care, but also general dentists who have chosen to dedicate their practice to young patients. We are therefore an ally of choice to help you promote the oral health of your little ones.
In this sense, we wanted to make parents aware of a condition which, we note, is relatively unknown. However, it can have serious consequences on the dental health of young children and can even affect their development: early childhood caries.
Early Childhood Caries (ECC): A Definition
Early childhood tooth decay is a condition caused by bacteria inside the mouth. Like normal tooth decay, it appears when bacteria feed on the sugar in food residues from the mouth. This then produces acid which attacks tooth enamel and cause carious lesions to form on the surface of the teeth.
Young children’s teeth are less resistant to attacks from bacteria than adult teeth, because their enamel is weaker. Early childhood decay can therefore occur as soon as the baby’s first teeth erupt and up to about 6 years of age. This condition deserves special attention because early childhood decay can quickly spread to the entire teeth and drastically affect the natural structure of young children’s teeth.
What consequences are associated with early childhood caries?
Early childhood caries progress rapidly and can affect the general oral health of young patients. Indeed, several consequences can be associated with it, in particular:
- Damage to the dental pulp, which can lead to necrosis of the dental nerve. They are usually very painful and may require the extraction of affected teeth.
- Deep lesions that affect the normal development of the child’s permanent teeth.
- Problems with eating and / or speaking, caused by teeth that cannot perform their natural functions.
- Psychological or relationship problems, when a child’s confidence is affected by unesthetic teeth.
- Growth development delay, in the most severe cases, caused by the consequences mentioned above.
Prevent early childhood caries (ECC)
Because of the serious consequences associated with them, parents should do everything in their power to prevent the development of this condition in their children. To do so, you need to be aware of the risk factors for early childhood decay and the steps you can take to minimize them.
The use of the bottle :When a bottle is given to a child and it contains milk or fruit juice, their small teeth are then in almost constant contact with the sugary liquids. This therefore promotes the development of early childhood caries. So, avoid leaving a bottle to your child, especially at bedtime.
Inadequate oral hygiene :It is important to have a good oral hygiene routine from the moment the first tooth appears. Be sure to brush the child’s teeth after every meal after snacks, or after feedings when it comes to a baby. Brushing their teeth before bedtime should never be neglected!
A diet rich in sugar :The consumption of sugary foods and drinks is directly linked to the development of early childhood cavities. Limit the amount consumed by your children and favor balanced and minimally processed foods, to limit the contact between their teeth and sugary products on a daily basis.
Irregular visits to the dentist :The first visit to the dentist should always be made at the age of one year or less. This allows the dentist to quickly assess teeth that have already erupted and prevent the development of early childhood decay. Afterwards, dental examinations are recommended every 6 months to allow the dentist to monitor the child’s oral condition.
We sincerely hope that this information will help you prevent early childhood decay for your children. If you have any concerns about this, our pediatric dentists and general dentists will be happy to welcome you to examine your children’s oral health and to reassure you!