Prevention of early childhood caries – the role of paediatricians
Dental Office, Anna Lewandowska, DDS, Toruń, Poland
Correspondence: Katarzyna Szczypińska, DDS, Kościuszki 12d/18, 87-100 Toruń, Poland, tel.: +48 501 226 383, e-mail:
Pediatr Med Rodz 2019, 15 (4), p. 378–386
DOI: 10.15557/PiMR.2019.0065

Early childhood caries is a serious health problem among Polish children. Dental caries is by definition a transmissive infectious disease leading to demineralisation and proteolytic breakdown of hard dental tissues. Its estimated incidence among 3-year-olds is 50% and has not changed for many years. Poor hygiene and diet as well as low parental knowledge of cariogenic factors and the consequences of untreated cries are the primary reasons for the spread of the disease. It has been indicated that paediatricians play an important role in raising social awareness in this regard. Early implementation of an individualised caries prevention plan for children may help eliminate the disease as well as improve both oral and general health at a later age. Home and professional caries prophylaxis may be distinguished. The main focus of home prophylaxis is proper oral hygiene and wellbalanced, varied diet free of cariogenic products. Professional prevention is based on procedures performed in a dental office. Diagnosis of early lesions, i.e. white spot lesions, is crucial as they may be reversed at this stage. Lack of treatment, on the other hand, leads to irreversible changes in the form of carious cavities, which require invasive treatment. In this paper, we discussed the causes of early childhood caries, its clinical picture and the key preventive recommendations based on our own observations and the available literature.

Keywords: early childhood caries, dental caries, caries prevention, fluoride prophylaxis