According to the National Children’s Oral Health Foundation, childhood tooth decay is the number one chronic illness impacting children in America. More than 40 percent of children have decay by the time they reach kindergarten. Tooth decay can have a lasting impact on the health of a child, especially if dental care is not provided to them at a young age.
The sooner children begin getting regular dental checkups, the healthier their mouths will stay throughout their lives. Early checkups help prevent cavities and tooth decay, which can lead to pain, trouble concentrating and other medical issues. Youngsters with healthy teeth chew food easily, learn to speak clearly and smile with confidence.
The American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics say that every child should visit a dentist by age 1 – or as soon as the first tooth appears. This “well baby visit” teaches parents and caregivers how to care for their children’s teeth and help them remain cavity-free.
The following are some of the risk factors that can lead to tooth decay during childhood.
One of the leading causes for childhood tooth decay comes from long-term exposure to sugary liquids. Our team recommends that a child drinks unsweetened fruit juices or water. If a child does drink a sugary liquid, using a straw allows the beverage to pass by the teeth.
Drinking from spill-proof cups throughout the day can lead to decay. Spill-proof cups allow children to consistently expose their teeth to drinks containing sugars and acids. We suggest that a child only use spill-proof cups during times of increased salivary activity, such as mealtimes or when the child has a snack, so that the saliva can help clean their teeth.
Not Visiting Us Sooner
Another cause of early childhood tooth decay is not knowing when a child should first visit the dentist. The Academy of General Dentistry found that by kindergarten, 25 percent of children have never seen a dentist. Children should have their first dental exam following the eruption of their first tooth.
Lack of Dental Care
Regular dental examinations allow our team to monitor your child’s mouth for signs of decay. The National Children’s Oral Health Foundation says that 1 in 5 U.S. children go without dental care. Neglecting regular visits puts children at risk for decay that can spread and manifest into more severe oral health issues.
Leaving a child’s teeth untreated and without dental care can have a lasting impact on their long-term health. Our team at Amber Dental of Wheaton can help make sure that your child’s smile is healthy. Together, we can work to minimize your child’s risk of developing significant oral health complications.