Why Are So Many Young Children Getting Cavities?
Cavities are a common dental issue that children experience. While most parents believe that children should go to the dentist when they're older, it's actually not the case. Children between the ages of 2 and 5-years-old are more at risk for cavities in their teeth.
According to a CDC report, approximately 28% of children between the ages of 2-years-old and 5-years-old are commonly found with cavities. A decade ago, this percentage was just 22%, which is a 6% increase.
There could be several reasons for why children get cavities this young. Some parents may think that this is because children do not brush or floss as much as adults or teenagers. While this is true, tooth decay can have other direct causes, such as germs that are commonly spread in families and chronic illnesses like asthma and juvenile diabetes.
In the United States, four million preschoolers are diagnosed with tooth decay, which is over 600,000 more kids in the past decade. So why is this happening?
Paul Casamassimo, DDS is a professor of pediatric dentistry at the Ohio State University College of Medicine and Public Health. According to him, children "have much more sugar in their diets at an early age." Another contributor to this problem could be water bottles, which doesn't normally contain fluoride.
Frequent cavities can have a few causes, a group of germs known as mutans stroptococous is just one of them. Parents advisor Burton Edelstein, DDS, and the founding director of the Children's Dental Health Project, states, "The bacteria feed on sugar and produce acid that eats away at the structure of teeth by depleting calcium." This bacteria creates plaques, which is a yellowish film that develops over the teeth and contains an acid that works to erode enamel. When plaque build up into a large enough area, the tooth develops a cavity.
Read on to learn more about why young children are at a high risk for cavities.