Calgary, Alberta – Early Childhood Caries, formerly called baby bottle decay, is the most common, chronic progressive, infectious disease in children five years old and younger in North America.
The prevailing belief is that ECC is relatively harmless: if a young child’s teeth are decayed, why fix them when they're going to fall out? But if a child’s mouth is unhealthy, there is a high likelihood the rest of the body is unhealthy as well. The chronic pain, infection, and inflammation caused by ECC can negatively impact a child’s health and development.
According to Dr. Leonard Smith, early childhood caries must be viewed as a major public health issue, rather than just an oral health issue. Dr. Smith is the founder and president of Healthy Mouth, Healthy Child, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness of early childhood caries and educating all professionals who interact with children. With 50 years of experience in the field of dentistry and preventative care, Dr. Smith is a renowned advocate for the oral needs of children
“ECC is a disease that is about more than just BABY teeth,” says Dr. Smith. “Dental care is about your whole body.”
ECC has been defined as “the presence of 1 or more decayed, missing or filled tooth surfaces in any primary tooth in a child less than 6 years of age.
“Teaching prevention based on real evidence is the only way we're going to stop this disease,” says Dr. Smith. “Prevention begins at birth and hygiene continues for the rest of that child's life.”
For more information on Healthy Mouth, Healthy Child, visit www.healthymouthhealthychild.org
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