Mark J. Hing
It’s never too soon to see a dentist. For the past 40 years, tooth decay has been on a steady decline in children, but recent studies have shown that the trend has reversed and that cavities are currently on the rise with baby teeth. Cavities are a growing problem in children between the ages of 2 and 5 who still have their baby teeth. However, it’s not just young children, but newborns who are affected; cavities have been found in babies as young as 10 months old. Most dental experts now agree that your child’s first trip to the dentist should occur before their first birthday or about 6 months after their first tooth comes in.
Protecting your children’s baby teeth is important in establishing long-term oral health as they get older. Dr. Bruce Dye of the National Center for Health Statistics believes, “When you have more decay in your baby teeth, there’s a greater likelihood you’ll have decay in your adult teeth. The ability to take care of teeth requires healthy behavior. Unfortunately, we’re not reinforcing healthy lifestyles for our preschoolers.”
The increase in cavities among preschoolers can be directly correlated to their sugar intake. Parents are giving their children more processed snack foods than ever before. As a parent, if you’re relying heavily on fruit snacks, juice boxes, and sodas, you may be causing your children series dental harm. Cavities amongst infants are linked to bottle-feeding and formula, and later sippy cups and juice. A mother’s natural milk does not encourage cavities.
Tooth decay in children can also be associated with infrequent trips to the dentists. Children from families who cannot afford proper dental care have 3 times the amount of cavities. More than just providing dental care on a regular basis, though, parents should help their young children brush their teeth, as preschoolers do not have the necessary dexterity to efficiently clean their teeth by themselves.
Remember that although damage to baby teeth does not affect adult teeth, that tendency to decay will most likely carry over into adulthood.
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