What Is Early Childhood Caries?

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A child can develop dental caries or decay as soon as their teeth erupt.

Early childhood caries (ECC) involves baby teeth and can affect children below the age of 6. It's a chronic disease caused by various factors, such as diet and microorganisms present in the mouth.

According to a study published in 2019, ECC's prevalence in some parts of Canada can be as high as 98%. But your child doesn't have to be in that statistic.

What is Early Childhood Caries (ECC)?

Dental experts recognize early childhood caries (ECC) not only as an oral health problem but a serious public health concern.

ECC is characterized by one or more decayed primary teeth. Advanced cases have caught the attention of dental health professionals. They emphasize that overall management strategies for ECC are crucial for early diagnosis, prevention, and treatment.

ECC is infectious and may progress quickly without intervention. It can also have lasting effects on both primary and permanent teeth. A child with ECC may experience pain, changes in their eating habits, tooth loss, sleep issues, and more.

Advanced ECC may require dental surgery to treat. In most pediatric hospitals across Canada, this is the most common day surgery under general anesthesia for children ages 1 to 5.

Potential risk factors of ECC

Without proper dental care, infants and toddlers may be at risk of developing ECC. Here are possible causes that can be abated at home:

Taking your child to the dentist by their first birthday, or soon after their first baby tooth erupts, can help protect them against decay, cavities, and ECC.

Tips to prevent ECC

As stated above, preventing ECC is possible. Introducing oral hygiene habits to children early on can instill a positive impression of dental care. Here are simple ways to protect your child's teeth.

Taking care of baby teeth is crucial as they save space for adult teeth. Premature loss can also impact the development of their teeth and jaw. Misaligned teeth can affect your child's ability to chew and speak.

Maintaining good dental care habits is a crucial step to protect your child against early childhood caries and keep their smiles healthy and confident.

Contact us today at (719) 539‑3145. Our friendly receptionists are more than happy to help you book your dental visit.