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Dr. Edwards' Blog

Young Children's Tooth Decay Reaches "Epidemic"-March 10,  2014

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) is launching a new campaign to highlight the seriousness of dental decay in children and it urges parents and caretakers to start early to prevent it.  Dr. Warren Brill, president of the AAPD, says the tooth decay is now at "epidemic proportions," expecially in younger children, often from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The latest numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show 42% of children ages 2 to 11 have had cavities in baby teeth; 21% of those ages 6 to 11 have had cavities in permanent teeth.  Tooth decay is largely preventable, but it remains one of the most common diseases of childhood.  The CDC says it's five times as common as asthma and seven times as common as hay fever.

The AAPD's new education campaign entitled "Monster Free Mouths Movement" takes aim at the causes of causes of tooth decay in hopes that parents will help their children avoid the risks early in their lives.

Here are just a few of the highlights of this new dental push:

  •  Children should have their first dental exam around the time they turn one.
  •  Baby bottle tooth decay is on the rise, so infants and toddlers should not be put to bed with a bottle or allowed to walk around with a sippy cup.
  •   Teens should avoid those those energy drinks because they're full of sugar.
  •   As soon as baby teeth erupt, children younger than two should have their teeth brushed with a tiny "smear" of toothpaste and not just water, as was once recommended.  
  • Children ages 2-5 should have their teeth brushed with a pea-sized amount of toothpaste.

Starting cavity prevention in early childhood can help kids avoid health problems as they grow into adulthood -- problems like diabetes and heart disease.  But in rare cases, cavities in children can even cause death. Cavities are caused by bacteria in the mouth.  That bacteria can spread from the tooth and into the nerve where the tooth becomes abscessed.  Then it can spread into the bloodstream.  The AAPD says in 2007 in Maryland, a 12-year old named Deamonte Driver died after bacteria from an abscessed tooth spread to his brain.

Here's a link so you can read more about the AAPD's "Monster Free Mouths Movement".

And if you're looking for a pediatric dentist, please call Optima Dental Group for an appointment with Dr. James Burchett.  He's the only trained pediatric dentist in Franklin County and St. Louis Magazine named him Top Pediatric Dentist four years in a row.  Call 636-583-2612.  We look forward to speaking with you.






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