Today in the United States, access to dental care as well as dental education is better than it has ever been. However, despite these improvements, tooth decay (dental caries) in children in the United States remains a problem for many. According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 60% of children in the United States have one or more decayed or restored teeth by the age of five. Additionally, nearly 20% of all children in the United States have between two and four clinically detectable dental caries. Lastly, by the age of seventeen, 80% of children in America will have one or more teeth with dental caries.
Experts cite lack of fluoride protection, the presence of harmful bacteria in the mouth and poor nutritional habits as major factors contributing to this problem. So what can be done to prevent tooth decay in children in the United States? Certainly education can play a large role. Specifically, educating children about the benefits of good oral hygiene can go along way in preventing this problem. Children need to be taught the importance of brushing their teeth thoroughly, at least twice-daily and flossing their teeth thoroughly, at least once daily at an early age. Ideally, this can be taught in the dentist’s office starting with the first dental visit and then reinforced at home by parents. Sealants and fluoride treatments are also good preventive measures that can be taken to prevent tooth decay in children. However, in order for this education and preventive services to take place, the child must first have access to the dentist.
If you have children, it is your job as a parent to help your child make good choices that will promote a lifetime of good oral health. If you have questions about how to prevent dental caries in your children, talk to your dentist today.
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