Did you know that tooth decay is the most common chronic disease of children ages 2-11 and adolescents ages 12-19? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, one out of five children between the ages of 5 and 11 have at least one untreated decayed tooth and one out of every seven adolescents between the ages of 12 and 19 has at least one untreated decayed tooth.
At Jungle Roots Children’s Dentistry, our goal is to educate parents and kids on proper oral hygiene so our Jungle Kids don’t experience as many problems. To help you learn a little more, here are the top five parental slip-ups we see in the office, and what to do about correcting them!
Letting children brush their teeth on their own. As children get older, parents begin to allow them to brush their own teeth. This is good, but as parents Dr. Culp recommends checking on their brushing to be sure that every gum-line surface of the tooth is clean afterward. Children are capable at different ages, so until you’re sure, it’s better to inspect their work! Also, even when they’ve been doing a good job, they could revert back to poor brushing/flossing. Check in with them over time to verify good hygiene.
Waiting to see the dentist until the child is older. Unfortunately, it’s common in our office to see children as young as 2 and 3 years of age have to undergo general anesthesia to treat decay and infections, simply because the child has not yet been to the dentist. The first visit with the dentist should be when the child’s first tooth erupts or when the child turns 1, whichever comes first. It’s important to assess each child’s situation and verify correct care for your child. Need to schedule your appointment? We offer this visit at no cost. Call Dr. Culp and Jungle Roots today! 480-759-1119
Giving children sugary drinks that coat the teeth with sugar! Sports drinks, sodas, fruit juices, and milk all contain sugar, which foster bacteria and decay. Be sure that children brush their teeth after consuming these beverages or at least rinse their mouths out with water to dilute and flush the residual sugar from their mouths, and never put a baby to bed with a bottle filled with anything containing carbohydrates!
Giving children foods that stick to the teeth. We all know that candy isn’t good for teeth, but many healthy foods like raisins and fruit leather also stick to the teeth and have concentrated sugars. Potato chips, gold fish crackers, pretzels etc get stuck in the grooves of kids teeth. This material is hard to get out and is a source of sugar for the bacteria to use to form acids. It’s very effective at causing cavities in the chewing surfaces of the teeth and it’s not even candy! Be sure that children brush their teeth after eating sticky foods!
Not treating cavities in baby teeth. While treating a cavity can be simple, there are also times when significant treatment is required. Regardless of the extent of treatment required, healthy baby teeth are necessary to maintain space for healthy adult teeth to follow. Be sure to follow the recommendation of Dr. Culp or your pediatric dentist if your child needs treatment.