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Protect Your Child’s Smile from the Epidemic of Tooth Decay

Mar 11, 2014 - 02:03 PM EST |  Posted under: General, Pediatric Dentistry
Protect Your Child's Smile from the Epidemic of Tooth Decay

While cavities may be common in kids, they are no longer child’s play as childhood tooth decay has become an epidemic. More than 40% of kids between the ages of two and eleven have had cavities in their baby teeth, while 21% of children between ages six and eleven have had cavities in their permanent teeth. These are just some of the frightening findings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which shows that tooth decay has become one of the most common childhood diseases today. The prevalence of the problem can no longer be ignored, but many parents don’t know how to handle this dental dilemma and keep their children’s smiles safe.

To save the day and save kids’ teeth, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) has launched a new education campaign that teaches parents how to protect their kids from the danger and damage of tooth decay.

Recently, there has been a tremendous increase in childhood tooth decay due to many factors, from kids’ constant attachment to sugary sippy cups to improper daily dental care. Regardless of the cause, this leads to the trouble of tooth decay which can make kids suffer extreme pain and extensive dental damage. In some cases, childhood cavities can go from dangerous to deadly if the bacteria from tooth decay spreads into the bloodstream.

But now with this new education campaign, parents can learn to keep tooth decay at bay and keep their children’s smiles healthy. The campaign highlights how early detection is the key to prevention by providing these smart and simpe steps for stopping tooth decay at every age and every stage.

The ABCs of Children’s Dental Care Between Birth and Two Years

• Before baby teeth emerge, clean your baby’s mouth and gums with a soft cloth or infant toothbrush every day.
• Once your baby’s teeth come in, brush them gently with a soft tiny toothbrush and a slight smear of fluoridated toothpaste twice a day. This smear of fluoride is small enough to be safe for young children and sufficient enough to strengthen their forming teeth.
• Only give your children water before bedtime because sugary drinks will expose their tiny teeth to cavity-causing bacteria and acid all night long.
• Schedule the first dental appointment by the first birthday to give kids an early start on healthy teeth.

Top Tooth Tips for Children Ages Two to Five

• Schedule routine cleanings for your children every six months with an expert in family dentistry.
• Help brush your children’s teeth both morning and night with a pea-sized amount of fluoridate-filled toothpaste. These kids are too young to brush well alone, so parents need to make sure that kids brush carefully and completely.
• Start flossing your children’s teeth as soon as two teeth begin touching.
• Keep an eye on your children’s sugar intake and limit their juice serving to less than six ounces per day to curb cavities.

Dental Damage Control for Older Childen

• Teach kids to always follow brushing with flossing.
• Supervise your children’s brushing until they are at least seven years old to make sure that they’re brushing their best.
• Let your children chew sugarless gum with xylitol. Chewing stimulates saliva production to wash away the plaque and particles that can cause cavities.
• Limit your children’s intake of super-sized sugary beverages, high-energy drinks and even juice pouches because their sugars and acids can erode the enamel on teeth and cause cavities.

The epidemic of childhood tooth decay has brought urgent attention to the dangers and damage of dental decay. Follow these smile-savvy suggestions and encourage other parents to follow your lead to keep your children’s teeth safe and strong.

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