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Early Childhood Caries

Gigi Kanak-kanak Rosak

What Is Early Childhood Caries?

Early childhood caries is tooth decay that occurs in children aged below 6 years old. It involves one or more teeth. It is a demineralization process that occurs on teeth in the presence of dental plaque and saliva.

What Are The Attributing Factors?

  1. Frequent intake of food and drinks with high sugar content
  2. Lack of tooth brushing
  3. Ineffective tooth brushing method which leaves residual dental plaque behind

What Are Other Factors Leading To Increased Risk In Getting Tooth Decay?

  • Bottle feeding with milk containing sucrose
  • Bacterial transmission via mother to her child through saliva (eg: mother and her child sharing a spoon to eat)
  • Maternal poor oral hygiene
  • Consumption of sugar-containing or sugar-based medication

What Are Steps That Can Be Taken To Prevent This Disease?

  • Practise diet which is low in sugar content
  • Use fluoridated toothpaste (fluoride content ? 1000ppm)
  • Tooth brushing at least twice daily using fluoridated toothpaste
  • Parent/guardian should aid the child in tooth brushing. They must lift the child’s lip up ensure complete removal of plaque along the margin of the gum
  • Remove the child’s milk-bottle immediately after he/she had finished feeding
  • Stop bottle milk feeding at the age of 1-3 years old and replace with cup feeding
  • Use sugar free medication if medicine in liquid form is required
  • Drink plain water or rinse after taking sugar containing medications
  • Undergo dental check-up every 6 months

What Are The Treatment Options For Tooth Decay?

  • Topical fluoride application
  • Application of pit and fissure sealants
  • Amalgam filling
  • Composite resin filling
  • Glass-ionomer cement filling
  • Stainless steel crown
  • Pulp therapy
  • Tooth extraction

Is It Necessary For A Patient To Undergo Treatment Under General Anaesthesia?

A comprehensive dental treatment under general anaesthesia should be considered if the ideal treatment could not be delivered in the clinic. Through this mode of treatment, all decayed teeth will be treated either with filling, pulp therapy, crown restoration or extraction to render the child orally-fit.

Should The Patient Be Recalled After Completion Of Treatment?

Patient should be recalled every 3 months to ensure that the disease is under control and to prevent recurrence.

Last Reviewed : 18 March 2015
Writer : Dr. Rashima bt. Ali @ Ibrahim
Translator : Dr. Norzaini bt. Yaakob
Accreditor : Dr. Hjh. Noraini @ Nun Nahar bt. Yunus
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