Advice On Early Childhood Caries (ECC) in Terrace
What Is It?
Early Childhood Caries (ECC), or the destruction of tooth enamel in children under 6 years of age, is one of the most prevalent infectious diseases amongst North American children. While its causes are many and multifactorial, ECC always results from a combination of sugar, bacteria and time. Bacteria naturally living in the mouth survive by feeding off sugars in the diet, such as from milk, pop, juice, cakes or candy. These bacteria accumulate to form plaque, and produce enamel-destroying acid as a result. As the time between cleanings lengthens and the number of bacteria multiplies, so does the amount of acid on the teeth. More acid means more wearing of the enamel, and, eventually, tooth decay. It is important to note that plaque may grow in your child’s mouth even before the eruption of the first tooth.
How Can It Be Prevented?
There is good news! Early childhood caries are 100% preventable. As a parent and role model, you can make all the difference in your child’s dental health by promoting good oral hygiene habits even before any teeth are visible and maintaining these habits throughout the child’s youth. We urge you to take the following steps of action to prevent ECC in your child:
Cleaning Your Baby’s Mouth:
Wrap a soft, damp cloth around your index finger to gently wipe the child’s gums from back to front, and take away any leftover milk or formula. Repeat this step after each feeding.
Cleaning Your Child’s Teeth:
- Ensure that your child’s teeth are brushed with fluoride-containing toothpaste at least 2 times per day (after breakfast and before bedtime). Ideally, brushing takes place after each meal.
- Ensure that tight contacts between your child’s teeth are flossed every day.
For more information on how to care for your and your child’s teeth, please see our ‘Oral Self-Care’ leaflet.
Is your child ready to brush his or her own teeth? Your child is ready to brush without assistance when he or she is able to handwrite (not print) his or her name, and no sooner. It is difficult for your child to hold and move a toothbrush well enough to reach all areas of his or her teeth. We, therefore, recommend that you assist your child with brushing until he or she is able to do so alone.
We offer a range of dental treatments for patients in Terrace.