The latest national survey found that 70% of 5-year-old children in China had dental caries. The prevalence of early childhood caries (ECC) may not only be attributed to poor oral hygiene and unhealthy diet, but also to limited access to and availability of dental care. The prevailing preventive measures adopted by industrialised countries for ECC management are neither practical nor affordable in China. Hence, an alternative approach to ECC management is necessary. Atraumatic restorative treatment (ART) has been advocated because the simple and short operative time renders ART affordable. However, the success rate of ART in restoring anterior primary teeth is unfavourable. Although there is no water fluoridation in China, topical fluorides may be used to manage ECC. Tooth brushing with fluoride toothpaste is effective for caries control, but not all toothpastes in China are fluoridated. Professionally applied fluorides such as sodium fluoride varnish can be a cost-effective treatment for managing the high prevalence of ECC in China. Silver diamine fluoride (SDF) at 38% is suggested to be effective in arresting ECC in China. It can be a simple, non-invasive and low-cost treatment. However, it stains caries black. Children and their parents must be well informed before SDF treatment.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited