Understanding Early Childhood Caries

Understanding Early Childhood Caries

Dental caries is one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood. It is important to note that dental caries in milk teeth is a preventable and reversible infectious disease process that when left untreated results in pain. It can also affect growth and development of the child’s speech, lead to premature tooth loss resulting in compromised chewing, self-esteem issues and affect the adult teeth.

As the health and welfare of infants and young children are dependent on the primary caregiver, it is important for the caregiver to be able to recognize early sign of caries in infants and young children.

Early non-cavitated caries often appear smooth, dull, white, or brown spots on the upper milk teeth. Whereas, cavitated caries appear as brownish, rough breaks on normally smooth, tooth surfaces.

However prevention of early childhood caries is entirely possible by initiating age-appropriate oral hygiene as early as before the eruption of the child’s first tooth and continuing until the child is able to perform oral care independently.

Here are some tips for child oral care:

  • Refrain from putting children to bed with a baby bottle. Also, bottle use should not extend beyond about 1 year of age. This is because almost no saliva flows during sleep, so any food or beverage in a baby’s mouth can promote the caries process. Use of sweetened pacifier should also be avoided.
  • Prior to first tooth eruption, caregiver can establish healthy oral flora in child by cleaning gums with moist gauze or cloth wrapped around finger
  • After eruption of first tooth to 2 years of age, caregiver should clean tooth with soft toothbrush and water or non-fluoride toothpaste while teaching child to spit after brushing
  • Schedule dental visit once first tooth erupts to familiarize child with dental setting
  • From 2 years of age onwards, introduce children toothpaste with adapted concentration in fluoride, using a pea-size amount at least twice a day. While child can assist in brushing, caregiver should be the primary person to brush the child’s teeth.

Dr Loh bio

Source: http://www.littlepeoplefactory.com/kid/understanding-early-childhood-caries/