Early Childhood Caries

Early childhood caries is defined as the presence of one or more decayed, missing (due to caries) or filled tooth surfaces in any primary tooth in a preschool-age child between birth and 6 years old.

The American Dental Association (ADA) recognizes this as a significant public health problem. The ADA also wants both health providers and parents to know that teeth are susceptible to decay as soon as they erupt, usually between 6-10 months.

As soon as your child’s first tooth erupts call your dental office to set up an appointment for your child. Your child’s first dental visit will entail: becoming familiar with the office and staff, counting their teeth and receiving oral health education based on the child’s developmental needs.

Some tips on how to help your child avoid early childhood caries:

  1. Nutrition-  Your child should be fed a balanced diet, with minimal fermentable carbohydrates  such as juice, soft drinks, milk, and starches.
  2. Bottle Feeding- Unrestricted and at-will intake of sugary liquids during the day or while in bed should be discouraged.
  3. Breast Feeding- Unrestricted, at-will nocturnal breastfeeding after eruption of the child’s first tooth can lead to an increased risk of caries.
  4. Homecare- Proper oral hygiene practices, such as cleaning an infant’s teeth following consumption of foods, liquids, or medication containing fermentable carbohydrates, should be implemented by the time of the eruption of the first tooth.

If your child has their first tooth and hasn’t seen a dentist please call Hillside Dental at (715) 834-6603 to make their appointment today. We are a compassionate, child friendly office!

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