Cavities are one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood. Untreated, cavities can cause pain and infections that may lead to problems with eating, speaking, playing, and even learning. Children who have poor oral health often miss more school and receive lower grades than children who don’t.
- About 1 of 5 children between the ages of 5 and 11 years have at least one untreated decayed tooth.
- 1 of 7 adolescents aged 12 to 19 years of age has at least one untreated decayed tooth.
The good news is that cavities are preventable. Children living in communities with fluoridated tap water have been found to have fewer cavities than children whose water is not fluoridated. And, children who brush daily with fluoride toothpaste also have fewer cavities.
Tips for parents and caregivers:
When teeth start to come in, start brushing your child’s teeth twice a day with a soft, small‑bristled toothbrush and plain water. We most often see young patients between the ages of 1 and 2 years old for an overall check-up and to spot any signs of problems early on. Remember to change your child’s toothbrush every 3 months, and after any illness.
Changes to expect as your child starts growing:
- Around age 6, your child will likely start to lose all 8 front baby teeth
- Around age 6, your child’s 1st permanent molars will likely start to erupt
- Around 10-12 years of age, the remaining teeth will start to loosen and fall out
- Permanent 2nd molars (12-year molars) will start to erupt around the age of 12
- Childre will eventually lose all 20 baby teeth
Reasons why baby teeth are so important:
- Baby teeth allow children to eat and chew their food
- Helps to maintain the proper space needed for the eruption of permanent teeth
- Helps in the development of permanent teeth
- Gives them the confidence to do what’s most important – SMILE!
Related links for parents: