For parents with children under 1 year of age who may not be aware of a very real threat to the dental health of their kids, like ECC, this article focuses on explaining the nature of this condition and tips on how to tackle Early Childhood Caries. By understanding its causes and applying prompt treatment approaches, you can help prevent painful cavities from developing and keep the smiles on your precious little ones intact. Read on to learn how!
ECC is the acronym for a medical condition called Early Childhood Caries, which can occur in tiny tots – yes, even though less than 12 months old! However, surveys held by state-run healthcare institutions reveals shocking facts about parents being unaware of tooth decay issues that are common in infants, which can have very serious consequences like long term weakening of their affected tooth or teeth’s development, if left unchecked.
In fact, the AAPD (the US’s governing authority for child dental care, known as Academy of Pediatric Dentistry) reports percentages as high as 90 for some populations that come under the ‘Head Start’ segment for ECC cases. They outline certain necessary precautions for parents with infants and small children in order to prevent the full-blown debilitating effects of ECC, which are produced below for your easy reference.
Causes and Treatment of ECC
The common reason for ECC developing is when a bottle-fed infant or toddler is accustomed to drinking sweetened beverages before sleeping and falls asleep with the teat to the mouth. This may include juice, milk or any other sweetened children’s drink, all of which can result in transferring nursing-bottle caries to the child, resulting in a severe milk-bottle syndrome.
It should be noted by parents keen on safeguarding their little ones that this is a pretty common childcare dental health threat that affects 3 year olds and smaller kids. So, proper weaning and the practice of drinking from a cup after the age of 1 year and avoidance of nighttime bottle-in-mouth instances particularly, is advised.
During the daylight, when the child sleeps for a shorter time, and is awake for the most part, the constant flow of saliva enables any acids built up on the surface of the tooth or teeth to get washed away, but this is considerably reduced when a child is asleep, which is more likely at night.
4 of the top front teeth are most likely to display ECC symptoms, which are distinguished by chalky white marks caused by acids that decalcify them. Not only do these look unsightly, but also if left unchecked, can be very painful for the child’s and prevent proper holding space developing in the baby’s mouth for future permanent teeth.
To eliminate chances of having your child wear braces and other dental problems such as infections, abscesses etc it is suggested that parents stay alert to small children falling asleep with a bottle of milk, formula or sweet liquids in their mouth.
For a child crying excessively, interim relief between sweetened bottle-feeds can be provided by cool water in a bottle. Also, never give a small child a pacifier that’s been dipped in sweetened products. Finally, on sighting any red, swollen or unusual marks on your child’s mouth, immediately consult a dental pediatrician.