kid with cavities

Prevalence of Cavities in Children

When you think of epidemics in the United States, you probably don’t give much thought to oral health or oral cavities in children. However, an oral health problem—tooth decay—is actually reported to be one of the most chronic diseases Americans face, as reported by the National Institutes of Health. A large portion of adults suffer from varying levels of tooth decay, and children are no less affected. In fact, they are even more affected and susceptible to cavities and other oral health problems. Find out why that is and what you can do to protect your little one’s oral health!

Cavities in Children: Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

With all our advancing technology in science and medicine, one would hope that the prevalence of cavities in children would be miniscule, but this is not the case…yet. According to research from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey of 2011-2012 the following is true about cavities in children:

  • Approximately 23% of children aged 2–5 years had dental caries in primary teeth.
  • Untreated tooth decay in primary teeth among children aged 2–8 was twice as high for Hispanic and non-Hispanic black children compared with non-Hispanic white children.
  • Among those aged 6–11, 27% of Hispanic children had any dental caries in permanent teeth compared with nearly 18% of non-Hispanic white and Asian children.
  • About three in five adolescents aged 12–19 had experienced dental caries in permanent teeth, and 15% had untreated tooth decay.
  • Dental sealants were more prevalent for non-Hispanic white children (44%) compared with non-Hispanic black and Asian children (31% each) aged 6–11.

What can be done about these statistics? Are scientists and researchers finding ways to curb the prevalence of cavities in children? Read on to find out.

Watch What Your Kids Are Eating – It’s Not All About Sugar

While sugar is commonly singled out for wreaking havoc on budding teeth, parents are often surprised to learn that some healthy foods can also weaken tooth enamel and let in unwanted decay–especially if your child’s teeth aren’t protected with dental sealants.

Certain foods and beverages are more acidic (eroding) than others. Low acid foods are better for your teeth even though some of their high acidic counterparts are good for your body.

Less tooth-friendly foods and drinks include: apples, cherries, oranges, peaches, pears, plums, pineapples, raspberries, tomatoes, pickles, soft drinks, fruit drinks, vinaigrette dressings, BBQ sauces and salsas. (When eating these foods, make sure and have your child brush his teeth immediately after to help rid the mouth of the acidic content these foods carry.

More tooth-friendly foods and drinks include: bananas, mangoes, melons, carrots, cucumbers, lettuce, beets, milk, water, meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, crackers, soups and pasta.

Preventing Cavities in Children with Laser Cavity Detection

In sports, it is often said that your best defense is a good offense. The same holds true for oral health. Preventing cavities in children from forming into big problems requires uncovering them early.

A cavity caught early with our laser cavity detection technology, when decay is mild and has not spread to the dentin (the 2nd layer of your tooth), can be treated with a dental sealant. The sealant will protect the surface of your tooth from being penetrated by food and plaque, which should stop the formation of the cavity right in its tracks. Your dentist may also prescribe fluoride to strengthen your enamel, which can be just as effective in terms of fortifying your tooth against decay.

Even if your tooth requires a filling, the advantage of early cavity detection means that more of your tooth is preserved. Cavities in children that are untreated due to late detection can result in more expensive and painful conditions down the road. Larger cavities in children can severely weaken tooth structure, and can make it easier for the tooth to chip, break, or crack. Subsurface tooth decay have the potential to to reach the tooth pulp faster than an above-the-surface cavity, which can lead to a painful abscess.

Schedule A Cavity-Prevention Consultation Today

Professional fluoride treatments, sealants, diet, and early laser cavity detection are all available tools to help you fight the fight against child cavities. Our team at Family and Cosmetic Dentistry of the Rockies wants to help your family succeed with oral health and wellness. Recruit us to be part of your team today! To learn more about our treatments or to schedule an appointment, call our Fort Collins office today at (970) 223-8425.