Childhood Tooth Decay
At all stages of our lives, tooth decay is a major concern, but recent research has revealed that that is never truer than it is during our youngest years. Children of all ages have been presenting with greater instances of tooth decay, creating a movement among dentists to have children in to see their dentist for the first time by the age of 1. While these patients don’t have a significant number of teeth, this practice ensures that the development of their teeth and dental hygiene practices can be fostered and monitored throughout their formative years.
Childhood Tooth Decay Appears:
- At least 4 times as frequently as asthma.
- More than 20 times as much as diabetes.
- Has an occurrence rate 5 times that of childhood obesity.
Why Does My Child Need To See Their Dentist Twice A Year?
Regular visits to your child’s dental provider ensure that any decay or dental issues that may arise throughout your child’s developmental years are noticed before they become serious. Tooth decay can build up on the teeth and gums of young children, aggravating developing teeth and potentially causing damage to the gums and bones of the jaw. Additionally, these visits allow your dentist to monitor the development of your child’s jaw and bite to determine if orthodontic work is necessary to produce a perfect smile.
While all of this sounds like something that should be standard practice among parents, it has been revealed through studies that less that more than half of all children have not been to see their dentist in the last year. This is particularly worrying when one takes into account the twice-yearly visits advised by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.
When I Was Growing Up It Was Yearly Visits, Why Is It Now Two?
Most dentists will agree that the current advisement, even for adults, is two visits a year. Recent changes in diet and an increasing amount of unhealthy food and poor dental hygiene in our lives has increased the need for visits to our dentist. The rising trend of childhood tooth decay has made it clear that more measures need to be taken to make sure your child lives a life free from dental issues. So drastic has the situation become that a report by the NIDCR (National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research) revealed that children:
- develop cavities in 42% of cases between the ages of 2 and 11 in baby teeth.
- develop cavities in 21% of cases between the ages of 6 and 11 in permanent teeth.
The vast majority of these instances would have been prevented if they had been under the regular observation of their dentists and practicing proper oral hygiene. Additionally, these visits provide an opportunity to educate the parents about the dangers of sharing food and drink with their children, as a child’s mouth starts free of the decay-causing bacteria present in adult mouths. Contact your dentist today to schedule a consultation and exam for your child.