General Advice

There are a number of oral health issues that you may believe are not important in the early stages of your child's life. The truth is that the problems developed in these stages can have serious effects on your children future  permanent teeth, habits and oral health in general.

Early Childhood Caries

How common is dental decay in children

One of the most prevalent disorders of childhood, dental decay is five times as common as asthma and seven times as common as hay fever. It is caused by bacterial infection, and impacts 60 percent of all 5 to 17 year-olds.

Is severe dental decay in children serious/harmful

While it is not life threatening, it can lead to sub-optimal long-term health. It can be a contributing factor in ‘failure to thrive’ whereby children have low weight and height for their age. Failure to thrive is often associated with serious medical problems or nutritional deficiency.

It can result in poor speech development, diminished facial aesthetics and misaligned permanent teeth. Severe dental decay can have a detrimental impact on young children and their quality of life. It can cause pain, poor sleep and poor eating habits, and in a few cases behaviour problems.

How can ECC (Early Childhood Caries) be prevented

To prevent dental decay in the teeth of very young children, don’t let your baby fall asleep with a bottle of juice or milk in his/her mouth. Also be sure and wipe the baby's teeth and gums with a clean, damp cloth after feeding. Preventing oral disease in children starts with good dental care habits. Children are really never too young to learn how to care for their teeth. Children should have their teeth brushed or be helped to brush their teeth at least twice a day.

For more information please visit the Healthy Teeth organization for a comprehensive oral health educational database.

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