Early childhood caries (ECC) has become an epidemic among young children. This rapid form of tooth decay is the most common early childhood disease in the nation, and it continues to be on the rise. In order to address this problem, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) has released its first “State of Little Teeth” report, the core of an educational campaign designed to provide parents and caregivers with the tools and information they need to prevent tooth decay in children.
According to the report, around 60% of children in the United States have had tooth decay by age 5, and 40% of children have it before entering kindergarten. Once called “baby bottle tooth decay,” ECC is often caused in infants when a parent puts a child to bed with a bottle of milk or juice. The sugars in the milk or juice pool around the front teeth, mixing with caries-causing bacteria. Other factors that put children at risk for ECC include:
- Enamel defects
- Frequent consumption of sugary snacks and drinks
- Poor dental hygiene
- Lack of fluoridation
- Mouth breathing
According to research, ECC not only damages a child’s dental and general health – it can also impact their social and intellectual development. Early loss of baby teeth leads to problems like poor speech articulation, and children may frequently miss school because of infection or pain, causing them to have a poorer academic performance overall. ECC can also contribute to inattention in school, and the appearance of a child’s teeth can result in teasing from others, low self-esteem, and a reluctance to smile, speak, or play.
If you are looking for an experienced Omaha family dentist you can trust to protect your child’s dental health, please contact The Dentists in Omaha today to schedule a consultation with our experienced team. We have offices in Hillsborough, Village Pointe, Ralston Square, and Dundee.