Most people don’t worry if their children get a cavity or two. Unfortunately, tooth decay can have an impact on can impact, development, nutrition, and behavior. Identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as a silent epidemic, tooth decay occurs five times more often in children than asthma. By kindergarten, 40 percent of kids will have developed cavities.
During difficult financial times, such as the ones our country has recently faced, families have to prioritize their spending and dental care is often seen as optional. For infants and children, dental checkups are an important component of overall health. Because tooth nerves are close to the blood supply, tooth infections can quickly and easily spread, which can lead to serious complications.
Other issues can also arise. When children have pain from cavities, they may eat less, increasing the risk for malnutrition. If kids are malnourished, they can have difficulty learning. Sometimes, parents mistakenly believe baby teeth don’t matter, but that’s not the case. If early teeth are lost too soon, permanent teeth can come in at the wrong time and in the wrong location, creating future orthodontic problems.
These tips will help you keep your child’s smile healthy and strong:
- Schedule a first exam between ages one and three. Make regular checkup appointments twice a year after that.
- Start brushing your child’s teeth as soon as the first one erupts.
- Limit sticky, starchy, and sweet foods.
- Select healthy snacks like fruits, vegetables, and cheese.
- Talk with your dentist about applying a fluoride varnish to protect teeth.