Cavities are one of the most common chronic diseases affecting children in the United States. An untreated cavity can lead to issues with eating, speaking, learning, and playing. A child with poor negative health will often have to miss more school and thus earn lower grades.
Around 20% of 5 to 11-year old’s have had at least one untreated cavity, while 13% of 12-19-year old’s have an untreated cavity. Children from lower-income families are twice as likely to have oral health issues.
Fortunately, cavities are preventable; fluoride varnish can stop 33% of baby-tooth cavities. Those living in communities with fluoridated water or who also brush with fluoride toothpaste are less likely to develop cavities. Dental sealants will also prevent 80% of cavities.
What Can You Do?
Here are ways that you can help your child with their oral health:
- Use fluoride toothpaste, only give a small amount to children younger than 6, and don’t give any to children younger than 2. When your child gets their first tooth, talk to a medical professional about fluoride varnish. If your water is fluoridated, talk to a medical professional about fluoride supplements.
- Consult a dentist about dental sealants.
- Have your child’s first dentist checkup by age 1.