Uh-oh. Childhood obesity isn't the only new dilemma to stem from the modern child's diet of soft drinks and sugary snacks. A new survey has found that cavities are on the rise among kids of all ages, particularly the preschooler set.
Five years ago, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the first increase in 40 years in the number of preschoolers with cavities. At the time, the increase was slight and did not set off any alarm bells, but according to a recent article in the New York Times, dentists nationwide are now seeing more and more preschoolers with multiple cavities at a time — sometimes as many as six to 10 at one visit. And the level of decay has become so severe that more often than not, they recommend general anesthesia for dental procedures, including tooth extractions, crowns and even root canals.
What's causing this increase? Dentists say it's the same things that are leading to other childhood health problems — endless snacking and the consumption of soft drinks and sweetened juices. Also, dentists noted a general lack of awareness about the importance of brushing and regular dental visits.
This hits close to home for me as I get ready to take my 9-year-old in to have three cavities filled. In her case, it's not the diet that is the problem — and it's not a lack of effort in brushing. She brushes twice a day. But her incredibly small mouth (which doesn't seem to impede her vocally,) makes it difficult to get in between teeth, and I will admit that we are not the best at helping her floss each night.
Still, it bothers me that she has so many cavities and that nationwide kids seem to have more cavities than ever before. It sounds like we all need to pay a little closer attention to our kids' teeth.
Has your child had a problem with cavities?