Posted on July 27, 2012 at 4:27 PM
HOUSTON—It’s practically a crisis among the nation’s children. According to the CDC, more than one-fourth of children in the United States between age 2 and 5 suffer from tooth decay.
McKenna Meek, 5, has seven cavities. She will undergo an hour and a half-long procedure that will require anesthesia.
“We came in January for our twice-a-year checkup and found she has seven cavities in different quadrants of her mouth,” says McKenna’s mother, Misty Meek. “They were in between the teeth and here we are.”
It was a tough diagnosis for both McKenna and her mother.
“I felt like it was something I did. Not keeping her hygiene up and I’m a stickler for that. We brush in the morning. We brush in the evening. I have two older boys. They’ve never once had a cavity,” Misty Meek says.
A U.S. Surgeon General’s report on oral health in America found that tooth decay is the single most common chronic childhood disease.
“We’re seeing a rise in cavities. We’re also seeing a rise in childhood obesity. We think diet plays a big part in that,” says Dr. Richard Matthews, DDS. “There’s also a genetic component that affects it because we have kids who brush, floss and still get cavities. It’s a great frustration to parents.”
Some things you cannot control, but there are other things you can do, according to dentists.
Dr. Maureen Poux, DDS, emphasizes the importance of a good diet.
“I think a lot of times people forget. ‘Oh, I’m giving my child milk,’ but it’s chocolate milk or strawberry milk. These are things that you don’t think are a lot of sugar, but they are,” she explained.
The dentists do not think it is realistic to eliminate sugar, but everything in moderation is a good motto to avoid a costly extended stay at the dentist's office.