by Marilyn Sandor, DDS
You may be surprised to hear that tooth decay–technically called dental caries, is the number one chronic childhood disease in the world. It is caused by the bacterial infection of teeth. Roughly 50% of U. S. children have experienced decay by age 9 and a shocking 80% by age 17. If left untreated, dental caries can lead to pain, infection, and the destruction of teeth and surrounding tissues. Thousands of school children are affected, resulting in thousands of school hours missed each year.
Where To Children Pick Up These Bacteria?
Just as a cold or flu virus can be passed from one person to the next, so can these cavity-causing bacteria. One of the most common is Streptococcus mutans. Infants and children are particularly vulnerable to this bacteria, and studies have shown that most pick it up from their care givers–for example, when a mother blows on or tastes a child’s food to make sure it’s not too warm!
What Should We Do To Keep Children Cavity Free?
Naples Pediatric Dentistry, in accordance with the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry’s recommendations emphasize that regular dental visits help keep a child stay cavity free. Even those children without cavities should visit the dentist twice a year to remove debris that builds up on the teeth and irritates the gums, posing a risk for developing decay. Fluoride treatments renew the fluoride content in teeth, resulting in strengthened enamel and cavity protection. At biannual visits, hygiene instructions will help a child’s brushing and flossing skills which will serve them throughout their lives. Dental x-rays taken at appropriate intervals can help diagnose decay and other issues when concerns are small, minimizing the extent of treatment required to restore dental health. Beyond tooth decay prevention, your pediatric dentist provides an ongoing assessment of changes in your child’s oral health and can note any needs for dietary changes, or fluoride changes. Your pediatric dentist will also advise you if and when sealants are appropriate, as well as identify early orthodontic concerns and make any necessary referrals for care. Such consistent care can ensure your child has a healthy, beautiful smile.
For more information contact Naples Pediatric Dentistry, (239) 592-0800 or www.goodcheckup.com.