All of us suffer from crocked teeth but our children suffer from it even more. It is quite a common dilemma in the family. And dentists often suggest that you have to make sure your children are following proper hygiene so that they have sparkly teeth. But of course this cannot be the case for everyone. It is hard to ensure you have proper teeth. And sometimes the complications can be even worse. One such thing is what we call early childhood caries.

This is what we call having teeth which are decaying or you have teeth which are missing. Also if you have filled tooth surfaces in your primary age, coming in the age range of birth and 71 months, this is then what we call having early childhood caries.

In this article, I will be covering this condition completely and ways in which you can combat it in a strong way.

So let’s start:

What is Early Childhood Caries?

understanding ECC prevalence in children

This is still thought of as a one of the leading and most prevalent diseases in children today. It’s short form is ECC and it is basically not only impacting your oral health but it also has a major impacting factor on your child’s overall health.

It is associating to different kinds of complications, this includes oral pain, orthodontic issues as well toothaches and tooth erosion. Hence it is important that you identify the kind of enamel issues you will face with this condition

ECC is a serious condition which also has an impact on your eating and speaking also. In many cases, it can also relate to an increase in your risk of facing caries development as well as permanent dentition.

The fact about this condition is that it relates to not just children but adults too. This means the complications can progress and move into your adult life too. So this is basically relating to how it not just affects the children but also will make an impact on the caregivers also.

One of those conditions which makes a major impact on the quality of your life, ECC is something which makes major implications on not just your financial status but also has leading psychological effects.

Symptoms of ECC

So now that we know the basics about this condition, I want to highlight as to how does early childhood caries even takes place. Before anything else, you should know that it relates to cavities in your mouth.

They will show up in your child’s upper front teeth. But they can also happen and impact the other teeth in your mouth too. These will first look like white spots which come around the gum region.

These kinds of spots are not actually visible at first but if you are able to spot them, you can help to protect and guard your child from the heavy deterioration of the teeth which can begin with cavity issues initially.

How Situation Worsens

how teeth deteriorates in ECC

While initially it may look like just plain spots, the condition can progress definitely and this means you teeth will start to look like a brownish color. If you don’t begin treatment even till now, it can even worsen.

This means those spots will lead to you suffering from holes in the teeth or even have broken teeth. So to fix the same, you will have to get some procedures done. This includes stopping the tooth decay before major complications arise.

Now let’s move onto the causes of this condition:

Causes of ECC

This is a condition which is impacting children widely in these times. Due to our poor diet and health precautions, the condition continues to worsen.

There are actually some very simple reasons for its progress. This includes when you are giving your child any food or even liquid which has ample sugar. Did you know that one glass of store-bought juice has actually 3 tablespoons of sugar?

So when you are giving your child that much sugar which is coming also from simple plain milk, it can be trouble. How so?

This is simply when you leave the same in the child’s mouth for many hours. That means when you are giving your child bottled sugar in the form of sweet milk or juice.

The bacteria in the mouth reacts very strongly with this sugar. When they come together, it leads to the formation of acid in the mouth. And this will actually destroy your child’s teeth in the long run.

And when you couple this with some other relating conditions, the issue can be long-term and when you look at how many feedings you are taking, as well as any medications or relating conditions can related to how your child will face the risk of this condition.

All of these elements come together in creating the likelihood of you suffering from this condition. So now that you have a complete understanding on what is ECC, its formation, causes and symptoms, let’s move onto the good news- ways to prevent it.

Prevention of ECC

When talking about ECC, the best way in which you can make sure to keep your children protected from this is doing the simple step- do not put the bottle in your child’s mouth when he/she is lying down.

In this we are specifically talking about milk, formula, juice as well as any other sweet liquids you may be consuming. And this might be an entirely unneeded condition. As many researchers suggest that when a child reaches the age of 8 months, they should not be given the bottle at night.

It is also proven that ear infection happens when you give your child a bottle when he/she is lying down. While this may be simple to wean off especially if you are breastfeeding your child, for some mothers it is the only way in which they can ensure your child is sleeping at night, when they have a bottle in the mouth.

One way of limiting the amount of sugar at night and continuously in the mouth is by diluting the sugar in the drink of your child when he/she is sleeping at night. This you can continue for a few weeks till your child is old enough to be drinking water only.

Other Prevention Techniques

adapting prevention techniques

So now I want to highlight and talk about some other prevention habits you can adapt. This will include:

  • Make sure to give your child a bottle only at meal times. This will allow them to set a pattern and know when to expect a drink. How this impacts you is your child will not be walking around with it and will limit the expectations on when to drink it.
  • It is best if you make sure your child is following a healthy diet. To do so, you should be limiting the amount of starch and sugary items you are consuming.
  • Also it is best when you clean your baby’s gums with a toothbrush with very soft bristles. The sooner you clean the gums, the better it is for your baby’s health condition. This also protects from gum diseases. You should be making use of a simple toothpaste and there are those brands which promote toothpaste for children under the age of 2 years.
  • You should also kickstart the habit of drinking from a cup in your children as soon as you can.
  • Make sure you are not using the dirty habit of putting your child’s pacifiers in any sweet liquid. It becomes a habit in your child and your child will only want to take on a pacifier in such a state. Otherwise it will lead to tantrums and behavioral issues.
  • In certain cases, it is best that you take on the advice of your dentist and learn how to make certain evaluations  on your child’s health condition.
  • Adapt a home practice and culture in which dental and oral practices are taken in complete order. Adapting oral hygiene practices will mean that you have a strong control on your child’s sugary and starchy intake.  This can continue for a long time. With such simple practices you can ensure your children are well-protected.


Oral hygiene is essential in your childhood years as in your adult life. There are many complications from which your children can suffer if they are not taken in account and the problems are not sorted and solved in due manner.

Early Childhood Caries is one of the leading complications among children which can only deteriorate your health in the long run. It can lead to many issues and can further deteriorate your health as you enter adulthood. But when it comes to ECC, it does not mean that every child will be impacted by it. However the number of cases have been on the rise in recent times.

But the good thing is it is something which can be treated and controlled. In this article, I covered in detail all that you should know about ECC and we ended on the simple ways in which you can even prevent its onset.