Early Childhood Caries| 7 Best Ways To Prevent Early Childhood Caries Or Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Early childhood caries


    What is Baby Bottle tooth decay? 

It is also known as early childhood Caries a term used by dentist when there is presence of 1 or more cavities or filled tooth surface in primary teeth of your child in between birth to 71 weeks.

   What are causes of Early childhood Caries ?

1. Early childhood Caries is believed to be caused by the baby going to bed with the feeding bottle in its mouth.

2. The major causative factor is the cariogenic liquids in the bottle.

3. Frequent exposure to carbohydrates in the presence of a bacterial agent Streptococcus Mutans is a key event in the natural history of the disease.

Early childhood caries, a rapid demineralization of the tooth structure causing cavities. The cost of treatment is costly because of the necessity of general anesthesia for treatment though it can be done without it but child cooperation is a bit difficult due to longer treatment durations. The cooperative capacity of babies and preschool children is a major hassle in treatment. 

Treatment generally is restoration of caries or surgical removal of carious teeth. This approach has had minimal effect with the recurrence of Early childhood caries. Relapse rates that have been reported within the first year of dental surgery have been approximately 40 percent. Alternate approaches are needed to tackle this epidemic.

   How does Early childhood caries progress ?  

1. Early childhood caries is an infectious disease. 

2. Frequent and prolonged exposure of the teeth to sugars present in the milk, formula foods, or fruit juices is the initiation process for the disease. 

3. These sugars combine with bacteria Streptococci Mutans, lactobacilli, food debris and saliva to form plaque (a sticky substance that adheres to teeth). 

4. The acids produced by the bacteria result in demineralization of the tooth enamel and dentin. Plaque if not removed regularly and thoroughly causes the tooth to decay.

   How can we prevent early childhood caries ?

Prevention is the responsibility of the parents. It is the most effective measure for your child. Apathy on your part results in your child being emotionally scared for life.

1. Do not allow bottles, food or drink to bed. A toy for comfort is better than the bottle.

2. You can choose a plain bottle for milk or water. It does not serve as an attraction to the child hence it is better. Water can be filled in the bottle during bedtime as water does not harm the teeth.

3. When your baby is a year old it is better to throw away the bottles and use a cup for feeding.

4. Keep your baby's mouth clean. Keep a soft cloth to wipe your baby's gums and teeth after feeding and before naptime.

5.The dental hygiene of yourself and family is important. By taking care of your dental health you can prevent infecting the baby.

6. Another most proven and effective measure is the regular use of fluoride. Foods, toothpaste, mouthwashes and water with fluoride content is an effective low cost way of preventing tooth decay.

7. Fluoride bonds with the enamel of the tooth making it more resistant of sugar, plaque or bacteria. This aids in the re-mineralization of the teeth. Too much use of fluoride can cause spots on the tooth. Its use should be according to the directions of a physician.

  What age should your child's 1st visit to dentist?

Dental care is as essential as other medical care. The first dental visit of your baby should be in the six month of the first baby tooth eruption. This gives the dentist the chance to look for tooth problems and advise you on dental care.

  What is treatment for Early Childhood caries ? 

▪︎ The normal treatment is surgical restoration of carious teeth with recommendations on dietary patterns

▪︎ In many cases even after the restoration is done the extraction of the tooth had to be done.

▪︎ Professionally applied dental sealant or a pit and fissure sealant that is placed on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth protect and prevent against caries. Sealants are recommended at the age of six.

Early childhood caries | Steps for Prevention