A little over a year ago the New York Times ran a story about the rise in the number of cavities leading to preschoolers needing extensive dental work, often involving general anesthesia. The article found that many dentists across the country were not surprised to see young patients with 6 to 10 cavities at a level of decay that required considerable repair and general anesthesia due to the length of procedures and the pain that results. The story raised alarm among parents with children and led many to discuss preventative measures with their pediatric dentists.
Studies find that most child cavities are preventable and if parents work better with their children in curbing snacks, drinking too much juice or soda and seeing a dentist regularly, painful dental problems such as cavities can be avoided. One problem with children and cavities is that most are found in the back teeth of a child’s mouth making it very difficult for a parent to see discoloration or other signs of obvious decay. The other problem is that unless the decay is significant and severe your child probably won’t feel any discomfort when cavities start to form. Without your child showing clear signs of being in pain and not being able to eat you probably won’t be able to detect that cavities are present.
Parents can watch their kids every minute of the day and a lot of health care comes down to trust, mostly that your kids will listen to the advice you give them about taking care of their teeth. While you can control when your kid visits a dentist the in between time is when you need to be most concerned and is when you should enforce some guidelines for avoiding cavities including eating a balanced diet, brushing and flossing regularly, drinking fluoridated water and limiting the amount of sugar consumed. Teaching your kids good oral hygiene habits at a young age can save them a lot of extensive dental work in the future.