Did you know that tooth decay is the most common untreated childhood disease? According to the Center for Disease Control, an estimated 1 out of every 5 children aged 2-11 has at least one cavity. But, despite the prevalence of childhood cavities, the good news is that they’re 100% preventable! Since February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, it’s the perfect time to learn some valuable information about children’s oral health and how you can help your child have a healthy smile. Not only will you help them minimize the dental work they need from a dentist in Arlington Heights, but you’ll be setting them up for a lifetime of great dental health!
Need-To-Know Statistics About Oral Health In Children
- Cavities in children are 5 times more common than asthma, 7 times more common than hay fever, and also more common than childhood diabetes and obesity.
- Countless studies have shown fluoride to be one of the most effective ways to prevent cavities, but around 100 million Americans aren’t getting effective levels of fluoride in their drinking water.
- Over 80% of the cavities children get are on the chewing surfaces of their back teeth. These surfaces have tiny, microscopic pits and grooves that can’t be adequately cleaned – even with good brushing habits.
- The Center For Health and Healthcare In Schools found that approximately 51 school hours are lost each year due to dental-related issues.
How Can You Prevent Oral Health Problems In Your Child?
Although these statistics are concerning, there are several things you can do to strengthen your child’s teeth and prevent decay:
- Schedule regular checkups – Regular visits with a children’s dentist in Arlington Heights are a crucial part of prevention. They’re also necessary so that cavities and other problems are detected and treated when they’re as small as possible. Not to mention that you’ll get valuable oral hygiene tips for keeping your child’s teeth clean and healthy at home.
- Ask a dentist about sealants – These thin, durable coatings prevent cavity-causing bacteria from accumulating in the pits and grooves on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. Sealants have been found to prevent 80% of childhood cavities.
- Find out about fluoride – Fluoride is an important mineral that strengthens enamel and prevents cavities. Ask a dentist about the water in your area to make sure it has adequate fluoride. If not, they can prescribe a fluoride supplement so the teeth that haven’t come in yet develop as strong as possible. In addition, a dentist can apply topical fluoride treatments to strengthen the teeth that have already come in to prevent tooth decay.
- Limit sugar – Minimizing both the amount of sugar and frequency with which your child consumes it is a big part of cavity prevention.
Cavities are very common in children but, with these tips, you can prevent them entirely!
About the Author
Dr. Peter A. Kics is a general and children’s dentist in Arlington Heights and a graduate of Northwestern University Dental School. He loves working with people of all ages and focuses on education and prevention to help his patients minimize the amount of dental work they need. If you have any questions about your child’s oral health, he can be contacted via his website.