Dental caries is one of the most common childhood diseases, and people continue to be susceptible to it throughout their lives. Although dental caries can be arrested and potentially even reversed in its early stages, it is often not self-limiting and progresses without proper care until the tooth is destroyed. Early childhood caries (ECC) is often complicated by inappropriate feeding practices and heavy infection with mutans streptococci. Such children should be targeted with a professional preventive program that includes oral hygiene instructions for mothers or caregivers, along with fluoride and diet counseling. However, these strategies alone are not sufficient to prevent dental caries in high-risk children; prevention of ECC also requires addressing the socioeconomic factors that face many families in which ECC is endemic. The aim of this paper is to systematically review information about ECC and to describe why many children are suffering from dental caries.