Were you aware that by the time they enter kindergarten, over 40% of children have dental cavities? According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, 42% of children between the ages of 2 and 11 have primary teeth cavities. Furthermore, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 19% of children between the ages of 2 and 19 had untreated cavities.
As a result of poor oral health, which includes having untreated cavities, school-aged children are 3 times more likely to be absent from school due to experiencing dental pain. Data from the Center for Health and Health Care in Schools indicates that children lose 51 million school years due to having illnesses related to their teeth and gums.
It’s important to start good dental care as soon as a baby’s teeth first appear. Their teeth can be cleaned with a washcloth and eventually a small toothbrush. Unless there are other issues present, regular pediatric dental care should begin around the time a child is a year old. Some parents, however, may choose to visit a dental pediatrician as soon as their child’s first teeth appear.
Pediatricians and pediatric dentists do not usually recommend using fluoride toothpaste for children under 2 years of age. As a result, it’s important to consult with these professionals prior to using this type of toothpaste. This can be accomplished at a pediatric dental exam.
In some cases, a childs first dentist may recommend fluoride varnish to prevent tooth decay in baby teeth. This is a highly concentrated fluoride coating that has been shown to prevent approximately 33% of the decay that can occur in primary teeth. These and other pediatric dental treatments can be discussed during a child’s regular dental exams.
Studies have shown that when these sealants are used, decay in a child’s permanent molars can be also reduced. Tooth decay was reduced by 81% for 2 years after being placed on the molars. Furthermore, it continued to be effective at preventing decay up to 4 years after treatment.
In some cases, children may have orthodontic issues because their teeth are out of alignment or have other issues. A dentist that specializes in kids orthodontics will be able to determine the best course of action. Braces or other types of treatment may be recommended by dentist that practices kids orthodontics.
Since there are so many issues that can arise with children and their teeth, including untreated cavities and the need for kids orthodontics, it’s important that they receive regular dental check-ups. In addition to preventing the pain and potential illnesses associated with dental issues, regular dental check-ups are also an effective way to determine when a child has good oral health.