Early Childhood Caries is an infant oral disease. The characteristic of this disease is the fast and widespread development of tooth decay.
Photograph showing severe early childhood caries.

At first, large lesions are found on the surface of the upper incisors.
Photograph of a set of teeth with the upper teeth suffering from severe early childhood caries.

Tooth decay follows the tooth eruption sequence, i.e. a tooth decays soon after it erupts. The decay will then spread to the teeth at the back.
Photograph of a set of teeth with the front and back teeth suffering from severe early childhood caries.

Causes of 'Early Childhood Caries'

Improper feeding habits

Poor oral hygiene

Consequences of having Early Childhood Caries:

Early Childhood Caries can result in pain, loss of appetite and even emotional irritation. If parents do not seek treatment for their children, bacterial infection can extend to the pulp, causing infection of the pulp and abscess. The bacteria can also affect the permanent teeth that are growing inside the alveolar bone through the roots of the primary teeth. When the condition gets severe, it can infect the child's cheeks, causing pain and swollen cheeks.
At this stage, the child has to receive complicated dental treatment, which may include removal of the primary teeth. This will seriously affect the child's chewing ability, speech, alignment of permanent teeth and appearance, resulting in the loss of self-confidence.

Prevention for 'Early Childhood Caries'

Good dietary habits

Appropriately clean the child's mouth every day

Regular dental check-up

A child should have his/her first dental check-up six months after he/she has his/her first tooth or when he/she is one year old. After that, parents should bring their children for regular dental check-up at least once per year.

Related topics:
Early Childhood Caries (PDF Leaflet)

Last revision date: 18 January 2012