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Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit
Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit

Dental Services / Oral Health
- Early Childhood Tooth Decay (ECTD)

Prevent ECTD

Lift the lip:
get to know your child's teeth, as they appear healthy. Lift the lip monthly to notice any changes in the appearance of the teeth.



Cause of ECTD:

  • Early Childhood Tooth Decay (ECTD) is a rapid form of tooth decay (cavity) in infants, toddlers and young children.

  • A baby's teeth are susceptible to decay as soon as they appear in the mouth.

  • ECTD occurs when a child's teeth are frequently exposed to sugary liquids or foods, causing frequent acid attacks which can begin to break down tooth enamel.

  • Dental plaque (thin, sticky film of bacteria that covers teeth), combined with sugar produces an acid. SUGAR + PLAQUE (germs) = ACID

  • The upper front teeth are usually the first teeth to show signs of ECTD.




Signs of ECTD:

Very Early Decay


Very Early Decay

ECTD can appear as white chalky areas around the gum line. If detected at this early stage stopping or reversing decay is possible. Consult a oral health professional.

Decay


Decay

ECTD can progress to brown spots, which will require  dental treatment.


Pain and/or Infection can result from ECTD.

Severe Decay


Severe Decay

Eventually tooth structure can be lost which can result in tooth loss.




Prevention of ECTD:

  • Water is the best beverage choice between meals, or if anything is given at bedtime.

  • Any liquid containing sugar (even natural sugars) can help to cause tooth decay such as: Formula, Milk (including breast milk), Juice & Pop.

  • Encourage the use of an open-faced cup by 12-15 months.

  • When your child starts solids, limit sweet, sticky foods.


Lift the lip Lift the lip: get to know your child's teeth, as they appear healthy. Lift the lip monthly to notice any changes in the appearance of the teeth.


ECTD can have devastating effects on your child.

Tooth decay, pain, infection and premature loss of very important baby teeth can result from ECTD.



Primary (baby) teeth are important because:

  • Primary (baby) teeth last for one-sixth of a person's life.

  • Chewing on well-formed teeth helps the jaw bones to grow and develop properly.

  • Primary (baby) teeth provide proper space for the eruption of permanent teeth.

  • Primary (baby) teeth are necessary for proper chewing of food, and normal digestive processes.

  • Primary (baby) teeth are also necessary for learning speech sounds and proper language development.

  • Healthy baby teeth are also important for a child's self-esteem and well being.

  • Children do not lose all of their baby teeth at once. Certain baby molars are expected to be in the child's mouth until 12-13 years of age.




Practice Early Oral Care:


Begin oral care the first week of life.

  • Use a clean wet washcloth, gauze or finger-cot to clean baby’s gums daily.

  • Ensure baby has swallowed all milk before lying him/her down.

  • Once teeth are present use a soft bristled toothbrush to clean teeth. Or continue to use a clean wet washcloth, gauze or finger cot to clean teeth and gums daily until you are comfortable using a toothbrush.

  • Avoid transferring harmful bacteria to baby… i.e. do not put infants utensils, soothers in adult's mouth.

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Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit
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