Did you also know that 20% of children ages 5 to 11 have untreated tooth decay?
Tooth decay the most common chronic condition in children — and it’s 100% preventable!
Influencing Factors of Childhood Decay
You may have heard that bad teeth run in the family. But the reality is, poor brushing and flossing habits are what’s really being passed down to younger generations. In fact research shows that if people think their unhealthy teeth are due to genes, they are less likely to make important oral health changes.
What Happens If Cavities Aren’t Treated in Children
Untreated cavities can cause pain and infections that may lead to problems with eating, speaking, playing, and learning. Children who have poor oral health often miss more school and receive lower grades than children who don’t, which dramatically impacts their performance.
In addition to lowered attendance and performance, kids’ self-esteem also takes a hit when they have tooth decay. After studying children from 14 participating schools, researchers found that dental health and happiness were linked.
Overall Health Affects of Tooth Decay
Proper oral health care decreases the number of harmful bacteria in the mouth. Bacteria in our mouths adversely affect more than just our oral health. Endocarditis, pneumonia, cardiovascular disease, and birth complications are all linked to poor oral health.
The risk of cardiovascular disease is 34% higher among people with periodontal disease!
Oral Health Tips for Infants, Toddlers, and Adolescents
- Before baby has teeth, clean their gums with a soft cloth.
- For children younger than 3 years, start brushing their teeth as soon as they appear with a small, soft toothbrush using fluoride toothpaste in an amount no more than a smear or the size of a grain of rice.
- Baby should see the dentist by his or her first birthday
- For children 3 to 6 years of age, brush teeth with a pea-sized drop of fluoridated toothpaste.
- Wipe teeth when finished until child can rinse and spit.
- Never dip a pacifier in sugary substances or put sweetened liquids in a baby bottle.
- Do not leave your child unattended with a baby bottle, especially at bedtime.
- Limit sugary foods and drinks, especially sticky foods such as raisins and fruit roll-ups.