Early Childhood Tooth Decay

A close up image of early childhood tooth decay. Early Childhood Tooth Decay (ECTD) is a dental condition where baby teeth decay quickly, which can be expensive and difficult to treat.

What might my child experience if they have ECTD?

Your child may experience:

  • Pain
  • Trouble eating
  • Problems with speech
  • Poor self-image
  • If baby teeth are lost too early due to ECTD, permanent teeth may come in crooked and crowded.

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How does Early Childhood Tooth Decay happen?

  • Early Childhood Tooth Decay happens when teeth are not being cleaned, and liquids other than water are left in the mouth for a long time. When liquids stay on the teeth, the bacteria in the mouth can turn the sugar in the liquid into acid, which causes tooth decay .

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How will I know if my child has this condition?

  • Lift your child’s lip one a month. Look at the gum line, if you see brown or white spots between and on the teeth there may be a problem, take your child to the dentist.
  • The teeth most likely to be affected are the top front teeth.
  • You may not know there is a problem until serious damage has been done.

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How can Early Childhood Tooth Decay be prevented?

  • Before teeth appear, gently clean your baby’s mouth twice a day using a clean piece of gauze or the corner of a clean facecloth.
  • When baby teeth start to appear, use a small soft toothbrush to clean them .Do not use toothpaste until your child can spit out.
  • Avoid constant sipping from a bottle or ‘sippy’ cup. .Do not put baby to bed with a bottle.
  • Do not dip pacifiers in honey, sugar or sweetened liquids because they greatly increase the risk of tooth decay.
  • Your child’s first dental visit should be around the age of one, or shortly after the primary teeth begin to erupt.

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