December 3, 2015
Tooth decay is the most common chronic health condition in kids. Allen children’s dentists at Ryan Dental Group coach parents on cavity prevention.
Allen children’s dentists, Drs. Michael Ryan, Laura Ryan and Meredith Davis of Ryan Dental Group, warn parents that tooth decay threatens the oral health of their children. Surprisingly, despite modern dentistry, a wide availability of dental products and education in schools, kids get plenty of cavities.
How prevalent is children’s tooth decay?
Experts at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta state that Early Childhood Caries, or ECC, the most common–and preventable–chronic health issue among kids ages 2 to 11. In fact, tooth decay is 5 times as common as childhood asthma.
Cavities in kids cause discomfort and left untreated, tooth loss. Loss of baby teeth affects speech, nutrition and how secondary teeth develop and erupt. In other words, baby teeth are not throwaways but serve important developmental functions.
Unfortunately, kids (and adults, too ) love sugary treats, drinks and starchy foods. These dietary choices encourage growth of sticky plaque on tooth surfaces, at the gum line and in between teeth. Bacteria in plaque secrete acids that create cavities in enamel.
Also, decay can begin in infancy. Putting a baby or toddler to bed with a bottle allows milk or juice to pool at the gum line and start the decay process.
What do your Allen dentists recommend?
Cavity prevention can’t start too soon. When baby teeth start coming in, parents should start the daily brushing routine with a rice-sized smear of kids’ toothpaste. As teeth mature and continue to erupt, add flossing with parents actually flossing their kids’ teeth until they have the dexterity to do it. Supervision of morning and nighttime hygiene continues until age 11 or 12.
Also, the Allen children’s dentists want to see kids for their first check–ups by age 1. While initial appointments to Ryan Dental are get acquainted visits, by age 3 kids get full oral exams, x-rays and professional cleanings. The dentists inspect for gum disease, tooth decay, bite alignment and tooth and jaw development, and they teach youngsters about brushing, flossing and healthy diets.
As young teeth mature, Drs. Ryan, Ryan and Davis usually recommend in-office fluoride treatments and plastic sealants. Both are quick and effective in protecting teeth against decay. The American Association of Orthodontics recommends children have orthodontic evaluation by age 7 to ensure healthy jaw and tooth alignment. Correction of problems early on makes for straighter smiles less prone to decay.
Lastly, parents should model good dental habits for their kids. That means:
- twice daily brushing and flossing
- a diet high in fruits and vegetables, high fiber breads, dairy and low-fat meats
- no smoking or chewing tobacco
- drinking water
Kids should be encourage to drink water throughout the day–up to 8 glasses. Tap water is a good source of free fluoride, and water cleanses teeth and gums of any food residues. Water encourages saliva production too.
Contact Ryan Dental Group
Preventive dental care at home and with your Allen children’s dentist is key to reducing Early Childhood Caries. Why not schedule your child’s routine exam with the team at Ryan Dental Group right now?