Early Childhood Caries

Dear Dr. Ellie, 

My dentist told me that by daughter has ECC, and that they will need to do fillings. What is this? My daughter is almost 3. Is he talking about cavities?


Dear B,

The short aswer is yes, your dentist is saying that your daughter has cavities but it is a little more complicated than that. Early childhood caries (ECC) is a disease which affects young children. It is an oral disease which can occur in children up to the age of three. ECC is a rather new term that covers several reasons of childhood cavities includuding baby bottle tooth decay, nursing caries, and other caries from drinking soft drinks, or juice, and drinking from a sippy cup for prolonged periods.

A baby gets the bacteria that feed the tooth decay from other infected people almost all adults! This is transferred by sharing cups, kissing, or from a feeding spoon that has been in the parent’s mouth.

I would love to talk to you about this further, including how you can stop your baby from getting more cavities and protect your own teeth. Please contact me at your convenience.

Ellie Phillips, DDS

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