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Dental Caries in Young Children

Dental caries is a very common oral disease in children. More than 50% of the children aged less than 6 years suffer from dental caries.

It is also known as rampant caries, nursing caries, baby bottle caries and early childhood caries. This form of caries mainly affects the children less than 6 years of age. Upper front and back teeth and lower back teeth are most commonly affected. Lower front teeth remains unaffected in most of the cases.

Cause for Early Childhood Caries (ECC):

ECC is caused by frequent consumption of sweetened liquids such as milk/ juice from the bottle and prolonged breast feeding at night after the tooth erupts.

Bacteria called Streptococcus Mutans which is primarily transferred from caregiver to the child adhere to the tooth surface and utilises the sweetened liquids clinging on the tooth for a longer time and produce acid which causes irreversible damage to tooth surface.

Child suffers from pain and swelling when the infection is severe making the child unable to eat hard food. Many children also suffer from weight loss.

Prevention of ECC:

ECC is a preventable disease. The Mantra for prevention is “catch them young”. Every child should visit the paediatric dentist before its first birthday or when the first tooth erupts.

After the first tooth erupts, feeding sweetened liquids such as milk/ milk formulae or juices through the bottle and prolonged breast feeding should be avoided, especially if the child falls asleep while feeding during naps or at night.

Cleaning of the tooth should be initiated right when the first tooth erupts. Visit your paediatric dentist to know right form of toothbrush, toothpaste and brushing technique for your child.

Fluoride treatment and pit and fissure sealant application will help in reducing the occurrence of dental caries

Visit your paediatric dentist today to keep the child’s innocent smiles healthy.