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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 121-122

Dental caries: Early childhood caries, a cause for concern

Department of Paediatrics, Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Bayero University Kano, Kano, Nigeria

Date of Web Publication15-Dec-2017

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Ibrahim Aliyu
Department of Paediatrics, Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Bayero University Kano, Kano
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/bjhs.bjhs_21_17

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How to cite this article:
Aliyu I. Dental caries: Early childhood caries, a cause for concern. BLDE Univ J Health Sci 2017;2:121-2

How to cite this URL:
Aliyu I. Dental caries: Early childhood caries, a cause for concern. BLDE Univ J Health Sci [serial online] 2017 [cited 2022 Jul 2];2:121-2. Available from: https://www.bldeujournalhs.in/text.asp?2017/2/2/121/220942


Dental caries is an important dental health problem; while most parents and physicians concern center most on caries of the permanent dentition, a child with a carious primary dentition is likely to develop a carious permanent dentition;[1] therefore, it is not surprising that most guidelines recommend early commencement of oral hygiene. Despite successes recorded on a global scale especially in the developed countries, the reverse is the case in poor societies especially in the rural setting. This is mainly due to ignorance not only on the part of the populace but also on the health-care providers because not often do we discuss oral health with our patients except they complain of oral/teeth-related problems. An illustrative case is that of an 18-month-old boy who presented with recurrent diarrhea, fever, and weight loss. He had been seen severally by health-care professionals at several levels, but their focus of treatment had been on the complaints reported by the parents; issues of oral hygiene were never discussed with the parents. However, the child had extensive dental caries resulting in the loss of the four upper incisors [Figure 1]; this never bothered the parents because they felt it was the milk teeth and it will exfoliate. Oral health and hygiene remains low in most developing countries.[2] Dental caries is a major cause of oral morbidity affecting about 60%–90% of school children and adults;[3],[4] dental caries of primary dentition known as early childhood caries has been described severally with different names such as early childhood tooth decay, bottle-fed tooth decay, and early childhood dental decay;[5] its mechanism is multifactorial depending on the interplay of the bacterial shift in the biofilm, predominant sugar-based meals, poor saliva flow, and poor oral hygiene. Sofola et al.[6] in their study in 2003 reported 18% of dental caries affecting primary dentition; however, this represents cases which were referred for dental care; therefore, the magnitude of the problem may well exceed this figure. Improving global awareness on the need for early commencement of teeth cleaning should be the responsibility of all physicians. This will prevent the development of dental caries, gingivitis, and bad breath. At early ages, clean cloths/cotton wool could be used and cleaning of the tongue is often a neglected part; this removes food debris which gets fermented by bacteria generating bad breath.
Figure 1: Extensive dental caries

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Declaration of patient consent

The authors certify that they have obtained all appropriate patient consent forms. In the form the patient(s) has/have given his/her/their consent for his/her/their images and other clinical information to be reported in the journal. The patients understand that their names and initials will not be published and due efforts will be made to conceal their identity, but anonymity cannot be guaranteed.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Warren JJ, Levy SM, Kanellis MJ. Dental caries in the primary dentition: Assessing prevalence of cavitated and noncavitated lesions. J Public Health Dent 2002;62:109-14.  Back to cited text no. 1
Sofola OO. Implications of low oral health awareness in Nigeria. Niger Med J 2010;51:131-3.  Back to cited text no. 2
  [Full text]  
Rahman SS, Rasul CH, Kashem MA, Biswas SS. Prevalence of dental caries in the primary dentition among under five children. Bangladesh Med J 2010;43:7-9.  Back to cited text no. 3
Petersen PE. The World Oral Health Report 2003: Continuous improvement of oral health in the 21st century – the approach of the WHO global oral health programme. Community Dent Oral Epidemiol 2003;31 Suppl 1:3-23.  Back to cited text no. 4
Dilley GJ, Dilley DH, Machen JB. Prolonged nursing habit: A profile of patients and their families. ASDC J Dent Child 1980;47:102-8.  Back to cited text no. 5
Sofola OO, Folayan MO, Oginni AB. Changes in the prevalence of dental caries in primary school children in Lagos State, Nigeria. Niger J Clin Pract 2014;17:127-33.  Back to cited text no. 6
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