Healthy Smiles for Healthy Kids

Did you know that the #1 chronic childhood illness in America is tooth decay? As we have learned over the years, poor oral hygiene does not just affect the mouth, it can have negative implications on a child’s overall health too if left untreated. A shocking 42% of all children ages 2-11 will develop a cavity in their primary teeth, which begs the question, what can be done to lower this statistic?

A cavity is formed when the bad bacteria takes over the good bacteria in the mouth. Often this can be attributed to exposure to excess sugars or bottles administered at night (also known as baby bottle tooth decay). If you do choose to give your child a beverage before bed, always choose water so that their little pearly whites are not exposed to excess sugars for a long period of time. It is just as important to make sure their pacifiers are always clean, and avoid exposing them to sugary substances.

It is important to get into the habit of brushing and flossing your little one’s teeth daily, and make a trip to the dentist within their first year. Fluoride should be avoided before age 2, and soft-bristled brushes are key to a gentle cleaning.

If your child does end up developing a cavity, it is important to seek treatment from your dentist. Severe tooth decay, left untreated, can lead to malnourishment, anemia, emergency surgery, life-threatening secondary infections or even death. Fillings, or crowns for larger carries, will be necessary to stop the bad bacteria from spreading and avoiding a more serious outcome. Taking care of the cavity promptly is also important, because left untreated, it can cause pitting or staining in adult teeth.

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