Early Childhood Caries

Early childhood caries or ECC, also known as baby bottle tooth decay, is a disease characterized by decay affecting one or more primary tooth/teeth in infants and young children. Tooth decay occurs when the child's teeth are frequently exposed to sugary liquids including fruit juice, soda, and other sweetened liquids such as milk, breast milk and formula, and also starchy foods (bagels, waffles, crackers, goldfish, etc.)   ECC is a large public health problem in selected populations and is also found throughout the universal population.  Studies prove that approximately 40% of children have dental caries by age 5.  Early childhood caries is largely preventable.  The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry highly recommends the first dental visit to occur within 6 months after the eruption of the first tooth.  Identifying risk factors and appropriate intervention can help to decrease the chance of developing caries on primary teeth.