ECC – Early Childhood Caries

Dear Dr. Ellie, 

I have taken my son to 3 dentists now to try and find a treatment plan I can get on board with. He has been diagnosed with severe ECC, and 2 out of 3 recommended 4 crowns on his front 4 teeth under general anesthesia. All have said that there are no nutrition based approaches to slow or halt the progression. Two said Xylitol wouldn’t help at all, and one said that it would, but only because it would be displacing sugar in his diet (which is low in sugar anyway). Can you tell me what type of routine you would recommend to slow the decay in his teeth? I have night weaned him, as I feel breastmilk pooling on his teeth will exacerbate the problem. I was thinking brushing 2 times per day with a xylitol containing toothpaste Would you recommend the floride rinse applied to the brush? I also would like to start feeding him some xylitol candies after meals is there any type of flavor sample pack so I can determine what flavors he will eat? 

Thanks in advance!
Worried Mom

Dear WM,

My concern
Yours is a message that I read over and over there must be hundreds of mothers who have the same story.

My goal is to figure out why this is happening. You all have a similar “profile”. You appear to all be mothers who are careful about nutrition and yet you have children around 2 years who have been diagnosed with ECC You are all mothers who nursed but I continue to be convinced that we should not blame nursing for this.

I would be happy to send you a book on Xylitol if you would like to read it also some samples.
Please let me your name and address.
I would be thrilled if you will help me try to figure this out.
If you think of anything that could be the reason I would be interested.

The mothers that I consulted with have all used teething gels some that contain citric acid, sorbitol and sugar.
They also remember a course of antibiotics at the time the teeth were erupting.
One child has had a lot of acid reflux and ear infections. Does any of this ring a bell with you? Asthma, mouth breathing, nasal blockage, sorbitol?

Preventive Tactics
Cavities are the result of damage caused by a particular kind of mouth bacteria. Small amounts of xylitol will remove this kind of bacteria from the mouth. I would definitely recommend using a baby tooth wipe ( or make your own solutions of granular xylitol in warm water and wipe over teeth.

You could also use about a quarter of a teaspoon in a small amount of water as a drink taken at the end of each meal. You need small amounts throughout the day this is the best way to rid the mouth of these harmful germs.

Ending the meals with xylitol will allow the teeth to build minerals back into them. Putting a little dilute sodium fluoride onto the teeth can also help “heal” them. (Imagine a cut on your knee the deep tissue has to heal first and then the surface skin will regrow over the top: xylitol works on the deep tissue to remineralize it and ACT fluoride helps put minerals back in the surface layers).

You child is obviously too young to rinse with ACT safely but you can either apply it to the affected teeth on a Q-tip or just use a drop on a clean toothbrush.

You will not only arrest the problem but expect to see improvements.
If you want to use any toothpaste at all use a small amount of Crest regular old fashioned paste but the taste may be too strong for a baby this age. Kids vary in their toleration of this paste.

Let’s start here and if you give me your address I will send you information and some samples.

Let me know what works for you,
Ellie Phillips

Dental Health for Everyone!
26 Corporate Woods,
Rochester NY 14623

Categories: Xylitol

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