Dental caries is the most common chronic infectious disease of childhood, caused by the interaction of bacteria, mainly Streptococcus mutants, and sugary foods on tooth enamel. S. mutans can spread from mother to baby during infancy and can induce even pre-dentate infants. These bacteria break down sugars for energy, causing an acidic environment in the mouth and resulting in demineralization of the enamel of the teeth and dental caries. Early childhood caries (ECC) is a serious public health problem in our country. Early childhood caries can begin early in life, progresses rapidly in children who are at high risk, and often goes untreated. Its consequences can affect the immediate and long-term quality of life of the child and family and can have significant social and economic consequences beyond the immediate family as well.
Inappropriate use of baby bottles has a central role in the etiology and severity of ECC. The rationale is the prolonged bedtime use of bottles with sweet content, especially lactose. Most of the studies have shown a significant correlation between ECC and bottle-feeding and sleeping with a bottle.
Although breastfeeding provides the perfect nutrition for infants, and there are a number of health benefits to the breastfed child, including a reduced risk of gastrointestinal and respiratory infections, however, frequent and prolonged contact of enamel with human milk has been shown to result in acidogenic conditions and softening of enamel.
In general, prospective dental caries is accepted as primarily a microbial disease, but we would also emphasize that dietary features play a crucial and secondary role. The length of time of exposure of the teeth to sugar is the principal factor in the etiology of dental caries; it is known that acids produced by bacteria after sugar intake persist for 20–40 min. Caries risk is greatest if sugars are consumed at high frequency and are in a form that is retained in the mouth for long periods.
We believe that ECC is largely preventable by early examination (schedule your child’s first dentist visit with the first birthday), identification of individual risk factors, parental counseling and education, and initiation of preventive care procedures such as topical fluoride application, the progressive nature of the dental disease can quickly diminish the general health and quality of life for the affected infants, toddlers, and children
We are passionate about providing quality pediatric and orthodontic dentistry services to babies, infants, children, and adults belonging to the City of Goodyear, Surprise, Scottsdale, and Verrado, in Arizona!
Dr. Olga and their team specialize in the treatment and care of young children and special needs patients. Our dental hygienists and team are all specially trained in pediatric care and orthodontic services and have a love for their jobs working with children.