According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tooth decay is one of the most common chronic conditions of childhood in the United States. When left untreated, tooth decay can cause severe pain and infections that ultimately lead to problems with speaking, eating, playing, and learning.
– 20% of children ages 5 to 11 have at least one untreated decayed tooth
– 48% of children ages 2 and 11 have experienced tooth decay
– 75% of children by the age 11 have cavities in their permanent teeth
– The percentage of children with untreated tooth decay is twice as high for low-income families
– Children living in communities with fluoridated tap water have fewer decayed teeth than children living in areas without fluoridated tap water
Tooth decay is so prevalent in our children mainly due to poor diet– many baby formulas have added sugar while it’s common for American children to consume a lot of heavily-sugared juices, snacks, and food.
Ivonne Castro Family Dentistry recommends caring for your baby’s teeth once the first tooth appears. Beginning preventative exams no later than their first birthday is highly recommended. Regular six-month check-ups for your children will set them up for success and similar schedules as adults. These childhood preventative exams monitor potential dental issues, allowing us to create an individualized proactive plan-of-action in addition to ortho screenings and comprehensive leanings. We understand the financial burden of providing care for children, that’s why we offer budget-conscious children examinations.
How to Prevent Childhood Tooth Decay
Parents can take proactive steps at home that promote great oral health habits. These include:
–Wiping down or flushing your baby’s teeth after feeding, especially prior to sleep lowers the chance of tooth decay resulting from the milk or formula residue left on their teeth.
– Weaning your baby off breastfeeding and bottled milk by one year of age helps avoid decay and lowers the probability of jaw growth problems caused by excessive sucking.
– Begin brushing your baby’s teeth the moment the first tooth appears— tooth decay can happen regardless of age and size of the tooth. We recommend utilizing a soft-bristled brush with water. Once the first tooth arrives, we recommend scheduling a dental exam where we can help provide at-home dental care regimens for your baby.
– Even when your child is old enough to begin brushing on their own, it’s vital to monitor their technique, continue teaching them the right habits, and going back over any areas they may have missed.
– Limiting sugar in your children’s diet leads to great oral health and overall health. Don’t let your child consume anything sugary before bedtime. Using straws for sugary beverages also lowers contact and chances of tooth decay.
For more information regarding children’s dentistry or to schedule your baby’s first exam, please contact us!