Baby Tooth Decay

Written by Dr. Ian Erickson and Dr. Nicole Keck-Erickson

There has been an increase in dental concerns among our children.  A recent study of Oregon in 2007 showed that we have had a 49% increase in the number of children with untreated decay (early childhood caries).  In a day in age that we have such advances in education and technology, this is a statistic that should scare us.  In the past the “baby teeth” were thought of as “training teeth” and were not treated as seriously as the permanent teeth.  Now early childhood caries is seen in a different light.  Five times more common than asthma, early childhood caries (ECC) is the number 1 chronic disease affecting our children today!!  Dental decay is a result of bacteria which are passed from tooth to tooth regardless of being a permanent or baby tooth.

But the best news is that it is 100% preventable!!!

We are very passionate on this topic and want our patients and community to know what we are doing in order to prevent this disease.   Our new goal is to see these little patients as early as 1 year old.  A common myth is that a dentist is not really necessary until children begin to get there permanent teeth (around 6 yrs).  By this time any ECC is likely to be much worse and more drastic means are necessary to restore your child’s dentition.  By age 1 it is likely that your child will have 4-8 teeth in the front which is a perfect time to discuss how to properly take care of them.

Your “1st Tooth Visit” Consists of …

  • Exam (by Dentist first exam)
  • Oral Hygiene Instruction
    • Diet Recommendations
    • Bacterial Spread from parents
    • Non-Nutritive Sucking Habits
  • Tooth Brushing Demonstration
  • Fluoride Varnish

We would recommend having your child repeat this appointment every 6 months until they are ready and mature enough to sit through a regular cleaning with the hygienist (around 4 yrs).  This repetition allows them to be comfortable and anxious free at our office.  This new protocol will increase the likelihood that the children will remain caries free throughout their lifetime.  We hope this helps and if you know of other families with children who have yet to see a dentist please send them our way!!

Thanks Again,

Dr. Ian M Erickson &  Dr. Nicole Keck-Erickson