Cavity free teeth are not a myth! AAPD recommends the first dental visit at time of the eruption of the first tooth and no later than 12 months of age as parents can be counseled about preventive care for newly erupted teeth. It is also important to monitor the developing teeth throughout eruption at regular clinical examinations. Evidence based prevention and early detection and management of caries/oral conditions can improve a child’s oral and general health, well-being, and school readiness. Look out for those white spots! Spots that look dry, chalky, and appear at the gumline warrant a visit to the dentist for a check-up and possible treatment. These early decay spots are caused by mineral loss from the enamel. Left unchecked, the spots will turn yellow or brown and require more extensive treatment. When seen by a dentist early, while spots are still white and just forming, it is often possible to treat the spots with professionally applied topical fluoride and careful removal of any plaque present. The fluoride replaces the missing minerals and strengthens the tooth enamel. Will they go away on their own ? Although, it depends somewhat on the cause of the spots, but if you do nothing, the spots are probably not leaving anytime soon. If you make no changes, the conditions that caused the white spots to develop still exist. Early Childhood Caries Caries among young children, or early childhood caries (ECC), is a particularly rapid form of tooth decay.ECC was once called baby bottle tooth decay, since a key cause of the disease is putting children to bed with a bottle of juice or milk. Due to the aggressive nature of ECC, cavities can develop quickly and, if untreated, can infect the tooth’s pulpal tissue. Such infections may result in a medical emergency that could require hospitalization and the extraction of the offending tooth. As mentioned earlier, children who are given pacifying bottles of juice, milk or formula to drink during the day or overnight are prone to developing ECC. This is a result of the sugar content in these beverages pooling around the upper front teeth and mixing with caries-producing bacteria, leading to rapidly progressing tooth destruction. Other factors that put children at risk for caries include enamel defects, frequent consumption of sugary drinks and snacks, lack of dental hygiene, lack of fluoridation, chronic illness, certain medications and mouth breathing or school performance. The longer ECC remains untreated, the worse the condition gets, making it more difficult to treat. These more complicated procedures are more expensive and performed by a smaller number of clinicians. In other words, as treatment is delayed, the problem becomes more serious and difficult to treat, and access and cost issues multiply.
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