40% of Singapore preschoolers have a severe form of decay called Early Childhood Caries (ECC).
If you have a young child, she/he is at risk. ECC is identified by:
- decay which first attacks a young child’s front teeth, sometimes as soon as they erupt
- decay which is rapidly spreading and has a typical pattern of spread
ECC in a 2yr old child. Decay affecting first the front teeth
then spreads to other teeth. Note how lower incisors are spared
What are the risk factors?
- Early infection of infants by strep.mutans, a caries causing bacteria passed on from mother/caregiver to infant. This risk of transmission is higher if mother/caregiver herself has poor oral health.
- Failure to brush infant's teeth properly
- Prolonged use of milk bottle filled with milk or sweetened liquids, as a comforter to sooth the child to sleep.
- Demand breast feeding – allowing child to fall asleep at breast
Prevention is the best option in the management of Early Childhood Caries
If you have a young child or are pregnant, keep good oral health
Avoid sharing food/eating utensils with your child
Avoid filling your child’s nursing bottle with liquids such as sugar water, honey or soft drinks.
Never allow your child to fall asleep with a bottle containing milk, formula, fruit juices or sweetened liquids.
Wean child off milk bottle by age 1.
Bring your child to a dentist by age 1, or as soon as the first tooth erupts.
Begin brushing your child’s teeth as soon as the first tooth erupts.