What is ECTD?
ECTD or Early Childhood Tooth Decay is exactly what it sounds like: children’s teeth that are decaying and rotting. However, ECTD refers to baby teeth in children as young as one year. While most parents are concerned about the oral health of their kids, baby teeth early on in a child’s life can often be neglected. Teeth are susceptible to decay as soon as they come in.
How Tooth Decay Happens
Acid is what breaks down tooth enamel forming cavities and causing the tooth to decay and rot. This acid is formed when sugar and bacteria mix. The mouth naturally has bacteria in it but excessive bacteria grows on the teeth when proper oral hygiene is not practiced. This bacteria is known as plaque. Plaque and sugar create the tooth decaying acid.
Common Causes of ECTD
Sugary liquids are a huge cause for ECTD. Especially in a baby bottle. Tooth decay from these sugary liquids in a baby bottle is called Baby Bottle Tooth Decay. When children drink out of a baby bottle or a sippy cup, their front teeth are in direct contact with sugar. Putting children down at night with a bottle of soda or sugary juice has led to more cases of ECTD in recent years.
The longer sugar stays on a child’s teeth the more likely they are to decay. Oral hygiene should begin early in a child’s life. Regular brushing and flossing cleans the teeth of sugar and bacteria that form the acid that decays the teeth.
- Oral hygiene should begin the first week of life. Use a soft wet cloth to clean a baby’s mouth.
- A child’s first visit to the dentist should be 6 months after the first tooth comes in.
- Reduce the intake of sugary liquids. Do not fill bottles with them or put your child to bed with them. Water is the best choice.
- Encourage your child to drink from an open cup by 12 to 18 months.
- Supervise children’s brushing until they can dependably brush their teeth well. ECTD can still occur if a child’s brushing is not effective.