Breastfeeding has been shown to be highly beneficial for a baby's health and development. However, if the child prefers to be breast-fed often or for long periods once a tooth appears and other foods/beverages have been introduced into their diet, the child is at risk for severe tooth decay called early childhood caries (ECC). To prevent this disease, we encourage mothers to clean the baby's mouth with a wet washcloth after breast-feeding and encourage a bottle with plain water during the nighttime.
According to the Canadian Paediatric Society, early childhood caries is the most common infectious disease in Canadian children. Roughly, 10% of Canadian two year olds will have already experienced a cavity.
Left untreated, the direct consequences of ECC are pain and infection. However, research has also shown that an indirect consequence of ECC is the inability to eat properly and these kids are at risk of weighing less than 80% of their ideal weight. Nutritional deficiencies in a growing child may have lifelong impacts on their overall growth and development.
ECC begins as white, chalky spots usually on the upper front teeth. These areas have this appearance due to a deficiency in calcium. It is important to emphasize that cavities in baby teeth progress rapidly and the risk of developing an active cavity once these white spot lesions are present is extremely high without professional intervention.
At Safari children's Dentistry, our doctors have the tools necessary to educate and prevent these lesions from getting worse. For example, we often recommend frequent visits to monitor lesions and apply fluoride varnish which substantial clinical research has shown to stop and reverse these lesions from progressing further.
Currently, 20% of all dental emergency visits are attributed to ECC and in more than half of the patients, these visits were the child's first contact with a dentist.
Lets reverse this trend! Early dental visits and prevention is the key to a healthy, beautiful smile! Call us and make your appointment today and lets work together to make our office a cavity-free zone!