Early Childhood Caries (ECC) – (Tooth Decay)

What is ECC? 

If a child goes to bed with a bottle of juice, milk, or formula, there is a chance that their teeth can decay. That's called Early Childhood Caries (ECC). It can be very painful and sometimes surgery is needed to fix the harm caused by ECC.  Your child can get the germs that cause tooth decay or gum disease from anyone who has these problems. 

How can I keep my baby safe from ECC? 

  • Wipe your baby's gums and teeth with a soft damp cloth after feeding, before bedtime, and at naptime.
  • Don't let your child take formula, milk, juice, sugar-water, or food to bed.
  • If your child must take a bottle to bed, fill it only with water. Water can't harm teeth the way other drinks and food can.             

You and your dentist: partners to protect your child. 

Gently lift your child's upper lip and look for white or dark spots on their teeth. If you see these spots on their teeth, make an appointment with your child's dentist right away. If your child does not have a dentist, ask your doctor for the name of a dentist who will see young children.

If your child has Medicaid, call Texas Health Steps at 1-877-847-8377 (1-877-THSTEPS).

If your child does not have Medicaid, call 2-1-1 to get help finding a dentist.

If you have dental insurance for your child, call your insurance company.

Last updated December 10, 2015