Three Practices That Increase The Risk Of Early Childhood Caries

Early childhood caries (ECC) is a dental condition in infants or young children. The disease is characterized by severe teeth decay. Here are three common practices that increase your child's risk of developing ECC:

Unrestricted Consumption of Fermentable Carbohydrates

Proper nutrition is necessary for a child's healthy growth, but this doesn't mean that the baby has to eat and drink all the time. This is especially true for fermentable carbohydrates, which are easily broken down into sugars while still in the mouth. Examples of fermentable carbohydrates include potato chips, juice drinks, and bread.

If you allow your child to feed on these foods all the time, the level of sugar in his or her mouth increases. The oral bacteria then feed on the sugars and produce acid, which erodes the teeth enamel and leads to early childhood cavities. The solution is to stick to scheduled meal times and brush the teeth after every feeding.

Dipping Pacifiers in Sweeteners

If your baby is using a pacifier, ensure it is the only thing he or she puts in his or her mouth. Dipping the pacifier in sweeteners such as jam or corn syrup is dangerous. Babies who use pacifiers tend to have it constantly in their mouths. This means giving your baby a pacifier dipped in sugar is just as bad as feeding him sugar all the time. The result is a high level of acids in the oral cavity, which destroy the teeth.

Parents Living with Untreated Carries

Your child's risk of ECC may also depend on your state of oral health. Cariogenic bacteria (that cause dental carries), such as mutans streptococci, can be transmitted from parent to child. Moreover, recent research show the transmission can occur very early in life, even before the first teeth erupt.

The transmissions occur via "normal" nursing practices, such as feeding your baby with the same utensil used to feed yourself. Such an action allows your oral bacteria to be introduced into the baby's mouth. Therefore, apart from treating all your oral issues, you also need to restrict activities that may transfer your oral bacteria to the baby's mouth.

Don't ignore ECC in primary teeth. The teeth may not be permanent, but they serve as placeholders for the baby's permanent teeth. The permanent teeth may not erupt in their correct places if the primary teeth are lost or damaged. Therefore, take care of your child's oral hygiene and ensure he or she attends all regular dentist consultations.