An epidemic of tooth decay in children

Dr. Garrett here!  Earlier this month USA Today published an article titled: “Young Kid’s Tooth Decay Hits Epidemic Proportions.” It was a very well written article discussing the various factors that are causing children across the country to have such high rates of dental cavities.  Here in Thurston County, we have above average rates of cavities in children.  Much of this is due to the lack of water fluoridation, but some of it is due to education of the parents.  It is recommended that every child visit a dentist by their 1st birthday.  At this first visit, we focus the majority of our attention towards the education of the child’s caregiver(s).  The article gives great recommendations for each age group in regards to diet and oral hygiene.

Unfortunately there is an unfounded fear of fluoride for children, and this is creating an alarming increase in cavities in our community. Yes…fluoride is toxic in large amounts.  The extremely small amount of fluoride found in toothpastes, however, has been shown in countless peer-reviewed, long-term studies to have no serious risks.  When a child is able to swish and spit, they are ready to start using a toothpaste with fluoride in it.  Before they have this ability, a small smear of fluoride toothpaste is best.  The topical benefit of fluoride on our teeth is extremely valuable and if started at a young age can help prevent future cavities. The systemic benefits of fluoride help to ensure that our teeth develop with healthy enamel.  If you are still afraid of fluoride, Xylitol toothpastes are a second-best substitute in that xylitol has been shown to decrease the adherence of decay causing bacteria on our teeth.

Read through this helpful article for some tips on dental care for children, then have your kids come see us for a checkup.  It’s time to stop this decay problem and ensure that our kid’s mouths develop disease free.

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