Dental Caries

Dental caries is the most common chronic disease of childhood.

Caries destroy tooth structure leading to infection, pain, and loss of chewing function.

Early Childhood Caries is an aggressive form of dental caries in children five years of age and younger (birth to 71 months of age).


  • ECC was once called "nursing caries" or "baby bottle tooth decay."
  • Term ECC is preferred as a variety of feeding habits are implicated.
  • Influenced by socioeconomic status, feeding habits, access to dental care, fluoride exposure, and family caries experience.


  • Upper front teeth that are least protected by saliva are affected first.
  • Disease moves posteriorly as teeth emerge

Severe Early Childhood Caries

Joanna Douglass, BDS, DDS
Joanna Douglass, BDS, DDS
Joanna Douglass, BDS, DDS


Policy on Early Childhood Caries (ECC): Classifications, Consequences, and Preventive Strategies. American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry Council on Clinical Affairs. 2016. 59-61.