US Children at Risk of Cavities

March 9th, 2012
US Children at Risk of Cavities

A report published in the New York Times suggests children under school age are showing up with 10 cavities or other dental problems when visiting the dentist.

Some conditions are so bad the children have to be anaesthetised prior to treatment.

What is causing such an alarming increase in dental decay? Dentists believe that pre-school children are given sugar laden drinks far too much, contributing to tooth decay. These drinks are often given to help get the child to sleep. They are also sgiven other sugary products regularly during the day, all of which are not helping to keep the child’s teeth healthy and lead to the development of cavities.

“The most severe cases have 12 or 16, which is seen several times a week,” Dr. Megann Smiley, a dental anaesthetist told reporters.

This was also confirmed by Dr. Stanley Alexander, chair of paediatric dentistry at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine in Boston, who said that while the problem is much more widespread nowadays, it is not a new issue. He remembers seeing cases as far back as the 1970s.

Another dentist said parents were rather irresponsible in the way they treat their children’s oral health. Dr. Amr Moursi, chairman of the department of paediatric dentistry at the NYU College of Dentistry in New York City, said: “It’s truly preventable with basic oral health and a minimal amount of effort – children should grow up without a lot of cavities.”

He suggested that parents aren’t worried because they think to themselves they are only baby teeth so they will drop out anyway, but problems affecting the baby teeth will continue to affect the adult teeth. Gum disease in childhood carries on into the adult years and mature teeth, which come through without the guideline of the previous baby tooth, are often crooked.

 

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