Title: Early Childhood Caries (ECC): what’s in a name?
Abstract: Aim It is evident from the number of published scientific papers on Early Childhood Caries (ECC) that interest in this problem has grown in recent years. Many authors have been trying to devise a clear definition or classification for ECC. The aim of this review was to inventory the prevalence of ECC and to seek a consensus regarding definition and diagnosis. Further attention was paid to the aetiological factors including the role of microrganisms. Finally, education, parenting and treatment procedures were discussed. Methods For this review, epidemiological studies on caries prevalence in children aged between 0 and 36 months were compiled through a systematic approach using Medline. Review This clearly showed that ECC continues to be a serious public health problem and that there is a great variety of definitions and diagnoses used worldwide, reflected in the prevalence data. This review confirms the multicausal aetiology and the need for further research. The authors strongly support the recommendations formulated at the workshop in Bethesda 1999, and the policy statements by the AAPD. Conclusion More efforts should be made to reach the high risk groups within populations, in order to reduce the prevalence of ECC and S-ECC (Severe Early Childhood Caries) and consequently to ameliorate the quality of life of these children. Long-term intervention studies are required for the evaluation of these efforts.