Although advances in the application of preventive dentistry techniques, widespread acceptance of community fluoridated water, and increased dental education in parents have reduced the incidence of caries in children, there is still a high prevalence of early childhood caries (ECC) especially in the lower socioeconomic population.
ECC, formerly termed “nursing bottle caries” and “baby bottle decay,” is the term currently used to describe the occurrence of caries in young children’s teeth.
It affects 1-12% of the pediatric population in developed countries, and up to 70% in underdeveloped countries.
It is defined by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry as “the presence of 1 or more decayed (noncavitated or cavitated) lesions, missing (due to caries), or filled tooth surfaces in any primary tooth in a child 71 months of age or younger.
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Severe ECC is defined as any sign of smooth surface caries in a child younger than 3 years of age or 1 or more cavitated, missing (due to caries), or filled smooth surfaces in primary maxillary anterior teeth, or a decayed, missing, or filled score of >4 (age 3), >5 (age 4) or >6 (age 5) surfaces.”
ECC is a result of excessively frequent ingestion of liquids containing fermentable carbohydrates (milk, formula, juice, soda) by the child at sleep time particularly through a bottle. Prolonged breast feeding has also been implicated in ECC.
° Crest® Oral-B® at dentalcare.com Continuing Education Course, Revised March 26, 2015
° Steven Schwartz, DDS