Early Childhood Caries, referred to as ECC in the medical community, is dental decay in young children. Surprisingly, it is the most prevalent childhood disease in children between the ages of 2 and 4 years. Unfortunately, the incidence of ECC is increasing.
According to a study done by the American Dental Association (ADA), children born between 1999 and 2004 have a 24% greater likelihood of having dental decay than those born a decade earlier. This problem starts EARLY, typically because many parents put their infants and toddlers down for nap or nighttime with a bottle of milk or breastfeed their baby to sleep without cleaning their teeth afterwards. The increasing popularity of putting sugary drinks in sippy cups has only exacerbated this problem.
As such, the current recommendation is for a child's first dental visit to occur by their first birthday or with the eruption of the first tooth. This is the opportunity for a parent to establish their child with a dental home and more importantly, to receive very important early education regarding the establishment of healthy habits and regular dental care.