Early Childhood Caries (ECC), also known as childhood cavities, is an infectious disease that affects 28% of children (5.6 million) in North America between the ages of 2-5. It is a progressive disease that impacts a child’s health and development over a lifetime if left untreated. ECC is most prevalent during a critical time in a child’s life; when a child’s brain is developing at the most critical and fastest rate in their lifetime (1-5 years of age). ECC is caused by a variety of factors, but the most common is negligent care of baby teeth. The condition can also be transferred from caregivers to children. The result is chronic pain, infection and inflammation, which negatively impacts the child’s development and has lifelong affects. It’s about more than just baby teeth.
ECC affects children across various socio economic backgrounds and is growing at an increasing rate. The great news is that it’s 100% preventable and the cost to prevent this disease is minimal or free. A child’s baby teeth need a healthy routine just as do adult teeth.